Ferret In Hand or………….. In Cage or……………………….

There has been a rule at my home for many years. Ferrets in hand or ferrets in cage before any outside door is ever opened.  Never assume your ferret is still asleep under the bed or behind the TV when you open your door to the outside world to bring in the newspaper, put the garbage out…… whatever!!!

We implemented this rule after one of our shelter ferrets did a walk about without our knowledge! In other words he escaped the house!  My hubby Guy had let our 225 pound English Mastiff outside to go potty and right back in. One Eyed Jack was supposedly asleep behind the TV. We had both giggled as he dragged a stuffy with him to sleep with behind the TV.

One Eyed Jack was a stray found by the river and brought to us.  He had tangled with something and his one eyed was beyond saving.  We patched him up and he became part of our shelter family.  Now he had escaped from his original owners so we should have known he had a bit of the wonderlust in him!

So, Ari went potty and came right back in. We all settled down to continue watching TV. Guy heard this scratching sound.  I didn’t hear anything. Ari was doing what mastiffs do best, snoring up a storm. Guy muted the TV and insisted he heard scratching. He got up and went to the front door.(We had not installed a second door – screen door at that time).  He opened it and in waltzes One Eyed Jack!

OMG and other assorted expletives.  It seems One Eyed Jack had snuck out with the dog. He had his little walk about in the back yard, then went under the gate, up the driveway, up the sidewalk, up 4 very high cement steps and was scratching on the door to be let in.  We hadn’t realized he was out. Had he not scratched to be let back in, it would have been at least an hour when our show ended before we would have realized he was missing. If our screen door had been added back then, would Guy have heard the scratching?

We dodged a bullet that day.  Today I dodged another bullet.  I had Zipper, Zora and Tank out playing in the bedroom.  They spent some time playing in the bedroom, then I was giving them a little free range time before I put them to bed. I looked out the living room window to see two crows sizing up my small  birds at the feeder.  Yes the law of nature is eat or be eaten but not on my watch and not today when I was already not having the best of days.  I quickly opened the front door and the screen door, stepped out on to the front steps  and shooed  the crows away.  I closed the screen door; remembered my rule and looked out the screen door window to make sure no ferrets were dancing on the steps. All clear. Good! I closed the screen door and the front door. It’s cold today!

About fifteen minutes later I decided to round up the 3 furries and put them back to bed. Tank was sleeping in the sleep sack back in the bedroom.  Zipper was sleeping in the ladybug back in the bedroom .  I can’t find Zorra in the bedroom sleep areas.  I start with the bedroom and start looking. No Zora. I close the bedroom door and move on to the shelter room.  I checked everywhere in the shelter, no Zora. I then checked their cage. Yes, sometimes, she puts herself back to bed and maybe I am panicking for nothing. Nope, not in the cage.

Oh God, I opened the front door to shoo the crows away. My mind screams no way  she  got out! She is not in the house, so yeah, she has to be outside. Great! 30 minutes head start at least! Where to even start!  I am ferret sitting these three; what will Colleen say when I tell her I’ve lost her little girl!  By now I am in tears and fighting a panic attack.  Find ferret and then have your damn melt down!

With squeak toy in hand I opened my front door.  Did I mention that I have a screen door and then my front door. I look down as I reach for the screen door handle and there she is! Zora was huddled in that small gap between the front door and screen door.

Relief flooded over me. Thank god she was tiny enough that I hadn’t squashed her between the doors.  I guess when I peered through the screen door to see if any ferrets had gotten out on to the steps Zora must have been right at my feet.  I didn’t see ferrets on the front step, so I closed the front door without looking down.

Zora washed my face with kisses and I snuggled her so hard her eyes could have popped.  No bad news to give Colleen.  My world righted itself once again.  Now that the crisis is over, let me share my rule with all you ferret owners who think it can’t happen to me because I’m always careful- yes it can happen to you! I have run the main shelter for 20 years and you’d think I would be smarter!……………………FERRET IN HAND OR FERRET IN CAGE BEFORE OPENING ANY DOORS TO THE OUTSIDE!

By the way, just so you all know, a stray ferret was surrendered to our shelter on Saturday evening. The ferret was found wandering a rural property and has yet to be claimed! Now this is Easter weekend with many family gatherings that started on Good Friday right through to Easter Monday. Lots of get togethers, people coming and going! Somebody out there is bawling their eyes out while searching for their ferret.  I just hope they call.

Deb, shamed ferret mom

 

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2014 Camping With Ferrets

Summer of 2013 I decided I would take Bandit and Turnip (Radish wasn’t born yet) out camping with me, I’d never taken pets camping before so I wasn’t quite sure how exactly it would go. First thing was figuring out what exactly was required for camping with ferrets. The ferret specific supplies I took were; Food/Water dishes, Water bottle, Ferret food, Guinea pig cage (it was smaller to make living in a tent more convenient), Mini litter box (for the smaller cage), Hammock bed and hanging tunnel (they still needed to be comfortable), Leashes!

At night they slept in the Guinea pig cage with us in the tent, locked (unlocked Bandit could escape within 5 minutes..), before bed I did allow them to roam the tent for a while.

Bed Time!

During the day we put their harnesses on so they could explore but close enough to keep an eye out for unfriendly animals (there’s many birds, and other dogs around). They really enjoyed the many smells and sounds, although Turnip was a little shy of how open it was.

Once they discovered the picnic bench was essentially a large ferret shelter, they basically were determined to spend the entire day under there watching and smelling.

Picnic Table of Safety

Ferrets have very short attention spans, and pretty poor near sight (apparently it’s good far away – according to my vet), after a while of under the picnic bench adventure they noticed the tree line. Which commenced an almost impossible attempt from keeping them from running towards it. I suppose it’s just a natural feeling, but whenever I took Bandit out for walks she always tried to escape into the trees no matter where we were. I figure it’s to keep her safe from the birds overhead, I would put them away thinking they’re too nervous (cage in the shade and tons of water) but then she’d scratch until I let her out again.

Runaway Bandit

Turnip was only four months into being part of the family at this point, so I’m unsure of whether or not he’s been outside, which is why for him I was a lot more cautious with how he was feeling.

Later on we visited some friends staying at a cabin close by (and by close I mean a bit of a drive but there was a beach!) Although pets were not allowed on the sand, I did take them near by at least. With all the people here it was a lot louder than the campground and way more food smells,

Curious Bandit

It looks like they’re further away because of a little hill, the trees gave shade and it was waaaay less crowded.

Monsters on the Beach

Bandit became the scout while Turnip was determined to protect her, it was pretty adorable. They stuck together adventuring, then both came back to cuddle on my lap after a bit.

Being Distracted

On the way home miss Bandit slept the whole way, She was pleasantly exhausted 🙂

Sleepy Bandit

Luna’s Great Adventure!

Luna and Garret are recent arrivals to the shelter. You may recognize Garret’s name.  He is the young fellow who was surrendered because of aggression. Turns out he was an incomplete neuter.  Once the testicle was removed Garret’s aggression disappeared and he was returned to his family.  Unfortunately, the family decided to re-surrender both Garret and his cage mate Luna as they no longer had time for them with the new baby.

Luna and Garret are very high energy.  With mostly older ferrets in the shelter, it is quite a change to have such energize bunnies running around. Love it most days!!!

Luna and Garret were out for playtime.  About an hour into their play time, I heard the loud tinkle of a wind chime. I love wind chimes and I have several hung up along the walls of the shelter room.  When the window is open, the breeze creates a lovely melody.

My prized wind chime was a gift from my husband. It is a large outdoor wind chime from Schrimer’s. Cost him a small fortune many years ago and it is so beautiful I don’t want it ruined by actually putting it outdoors. So, it hangs right in front of the shelter window and I smile each time I see it.

So, back to Luna and her adventure! I hear the tinkle of my wind chime.  Each wind chime has their own unique sound. I recognized the tinkle as my prized outdoor wind chime. Hmmm, the window is closed and so I should NOT be hearing the tinkle.

I dash in to the shelter room and there is Luna. She is swinging on the wind chime.  She has climbed up the Ferret Nation cage and from there onto the wind chime. She looked back at me when I hollered her name! The look was a typical teenager “whatever”.

As I approached her to take her down, she realized that maybe she was in trouble and should make her get-a-way!  From the wind chime through the blind and hung up on the screen!  I ALWAYS keep my window closed when ferrets are out playing. I never want to experience the tragedy of a ferret falling to its death because the screen gave way. Thank god I had that rule in place.

So many funny things happen in the shelter and I almost never get to document it on my cell or camera. This time I just happen to have my camera on the coffee table and grabbed it as I ran to the shelter. I was able to get some good pictures before I put the camera down and rescued Luna.  Her thanks was a ticked off weasel war dance and an attempt to scale the Ferret Nation cage for another go at the wind chime!

Luna and Garret are up for adoption to an experienced ferret owner. These two are a real handful! Wonderful, but definitely a handful!

Enjoy the pictures of her Great Adventure. PS – she has claimed the wind chime as her personal diva spot and I am constantly taking her down now!  Should I remove the wind chime – NO, some times you have to say “It’s my house damn it and I get to have something for me”.

Luna swinging on my outdoor wind chime in front of the window in the shelter room

Luna swinging on my outdoor wind chime in front of the window in the shelter room

 

Luna in her best Diva pose on the wind chime

Luna in her best Diva pose on the wind chime

Luna thinking of getting down-nope!

Luna thinking of getting down-nope!

Luna back to sitting pretty and giving me the LOOK. She looks like a statue!

Luna back to sitting pretty and giving me the LOOK. She looks like a statue!

Luna deciding that Mommy is mad and maybe she should make a get-a-way

Luna deciding that Mommy is mad and maybe she should make a get-a-way

Luna realizing that she is stuck

Luna realizing that she is stuck

Help Mommy= I stuck

Help Mommy= I stuck