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The Gift Of Life For Ferrets And Humans

Hard work, persistence and love help ferrets and their family regain their lives after a devastating flood.

By Lori Coffman Hauser
Posted: April 1, 2011, 5 a.m. EDT

ferret
ferret
© Photos Courtesy of Lori Coffman Hauser
These two photos show the rescued ferrets early in their recover, when they were just beginning to walk again.

After a flood in 2008, my husband, myself and our seven ferrets found ourselves without a home. Thanks to the love and compassion of family, we found temporary housing for ourselves and our fuzzy family. Soon afterward, my husband was diagnosed with cancer and underwent a radical surgery followed by a year of chemo, with treatment five times weekly

My business of seven ferrets grew to 10 by May of 2009 with the addition of two rescued ferrets and a kit I received on my birthday. In August 2009, I got word of two ferrets left in a home when the owners moved. After contacting the owners, arrangements were made to pick up the ferrets. They gave me a small crate, and I could tell its passengers were in poor health. I feared they would not release them to me, so I promptly placed the ferrets in my car, assured the owners the ferrets would be well cared for and drove home.

When I opened the crate my heart sank. Inside, near death, were two starving ferrets. One could not stand and the other could not walk without falling over. These two ferrets were skeletons with thin, dull hair. They could not be placed with the other ferrets for some time, and the small cage I used for ill ferrets would not be enough to accommodate them long-term. I searched the Internet for a good used cage, went to pick it up and got supplies from the grocery and pet stores.

Miss Daisy ferret
© Courtesy of Lori Coffman Hauser
Miss Daisy ferret was a birthday gift to Lori in 2009.

Baby Huey ferret
© Courtesy of Lori Coffman Hauser
Baby Huey ferret is Miss Daisy's cagemate.

I set up and cleaned the cage and began making duck soup. My recipe is a pureed mix of ZuPreem Ferret Diet soaked in Pedialyte, protein supplement, chicken baby food, canned ferret diet, kitten weaning formula and FerretVite. During the course of six weeks, the two ferrets followed a rigorous feeding schedule that started with syringe feedings and gradually worked up to eating soft foods on their own and then introducing more and more dry food. By week three, the ferrets could move on their own from their bed to the litter pan. In week four, they were moving about the cage, and in week five their fur and bodies were visibly thickening. On week six, I introduced them to the rest of the ferrets.

In October 2009, we found a new house and worked on cleaning, painting and moving in. I now had a very sick husband, a house requiring a lot of work and 12 ferrets. The decision was made to find new homes for the ferrets. At my husband’s request, I kept two ferrets (he knows how much I love them, and in these hard times they are my “therapy”). We placed 10 of the ferrets into loving homes. I now have my birthday gift ferret, Miss Daisy, and her cagemate, Baby Huey.

My husband has completed chemo and has follow-ups with an oncologist and a regularly scheduled MRI of body and brain. The new house is becoming more like a home and my two starving rescued ferrets are happy, healthy and loved in their new home.

It is amazing that with a little hard work, moderate persistence and a lot of love, the gift of life can once again be restored to humans and their fuzzy companions.

Lori Coffman Hauser lives in Missouri with her husband and two ferrets.

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