This is never a pleasant topic of discussion. What would happen to my beloved ferrets (really all your pets) if something happened to me? Well my spouse or partner would take over! But what if both of you are involved in the same accident and pass away? Well my adult children would take them! Are you sure? It’s nice to think that our immediate or extended family would jump in and take our pets but life isn’t always fair. Our family may not like our ferrets, may have pets that would not get along with your pets or maybe they just don’t have the room to take in anymore.
My son and his wife went to Grand Forks for the weekend. I went over each day to feed and play with my two grand cats. Now I love these two cats. We had cats when my sons were growing up. However, if something happened to the both of them; what happens to their cats. As much as I love them; they would not fit well in my home. My dog Miki would not be impressed and of course Raven and Salem would most definitely be scare of the dog. Then of course I have many fostered and personal ferrets in my home. Again, Raven and Salem would not be impressed by being chased around the house by my furries. Perhaps my daughter in laws parents would take them but, I don’t think they are cat people. Now who would take their cats? I know how much they love them and I would never place them in a shelter but what would I do? I guess I would be down to seeing if any of their friends would take them and hope that I am doing the right thing.
Two years ago Helen, our Winnipeg Beach Shelter Mom was killed on her way home from work. When family called to come get her ferrets it was a nightmare. Helen had not gotten around to hanging the pictures with documentation on the 5 different cages. In my shock, I did not grab my back up shelter documentation book. Jeanne and I spent an hour trying to match ferrets with their names and documentation. We even forgot one ferret whom Helen had left out to play while she was at work. Fortunately we hadn’t gone too far before family called to say a ferret had appeared at their feet. We were carrying pet carriers and food and stuff out of the house. We were not watching for loose ferrets. Thank goodness she didn’t escape outside or worse left behind with no food or water.
Helen also had a dog named Dudley. He was a goofy mutt who loved the ferrets and that is why Helen tolerated his accidents in the house. I knew I couldn’t take him as I had two dogs at home at that time. I loved Dudley and was so worried what would happen to him. Her family were not pet people and I knew they wouldn’t want him. Thank goodness a neighbor stepped up and took him. He would have ended up in a shelter and euthanized as he wasn’t completely housebroken. That would have broken Helen’s heart!
The lesson I learnt was thank goodness I was an “organized freek” because if the roles had been reversed, family and friends would have had no trouble knowing which ferrets belonged to me personally and which ferrets had to be re-homed within the shelter community. All my cages are labelled. I have their picture and on the backside are a the most important details. I even have a copy of their latest vaccinations.
Several months ago, our former webmaster Teraysa passed away suddenly. Family called us. She had one ferret in the top cage and two in the bottom half. A huge bucket of food and treats nearby. Taking the ferrets wasn’t a problem. Trying to figure out their names and ages was something else. I had to scan through all her pictures that she had posted on her Face Book page. Thank goodness she loved to post pictures of her pets. The one ferret I thought I knew wasn’t. That ferret had passed away about a year prior. Thank goodness she had posted a RIP for that ferret and then pictures of the new baby! We had their names but no information on when their vaccines were done. We never did get any documentation from her family as they sorted through her stuff.
Besides my ferrets, I have a miniature Eskimo dog, 10 years old now. If something should happen to me, I have plans in place for her to be taken care of. I have not left that burden to my family, none of whom could take her.
Years ago, we developed a short check list for our members so that they could plan and organize responsibility for their ferrets and other pets. The hand out was given to all new ferret owners but as it is a sensitive topic I am sure it was quickly misplaced. I went looking for my hand out and found it in my files. I have revised it a bit and I am posting it below so anybody with pets will be reminded that they should make plans for their pets in case something happens!
Assigning Responsibility for your Pets
It is important to make arrangements for the care of your ferret in case you are incapacitated through illness or injury or in the event of your untimely death.
- Have written instruction as to whom you wish to have look after your ferret . Have the document witnessed by two independent people of good character. You may even want to include the assignment of your pets in your will. Consider allocating a sum of monies for their continued care.
- Prepare an information sheet for each ferret:
- Description of each including special markings /annual photo
- Location and description of each cage
- Details of what brand of foods – where to purchase their food
- Details of what litter you use , how often to change it and where to purchase
- List of favorite treats, and how often they are given
- Details of bathing, toe-nail clipping and ear cleaning
- Details of favorite play times, toys, and behaviour
- Details of socialization with other types of pets such as cats or dogs
- Details of any current medical conditions and med regime
- Name, Address of Vet
- General information on personality of the ferret
- Leave a copy of your instructions with a reliable family member or friend who can speak on your behalf immediately. If the only copy is in the safety deposit box at the bank, by the time the document is located, your ferret may have already been disposed of unintentionally. Make sure your family is aware of your wishes and will not dispute your request.
- Make sure you review and update this information on an annual basis.
At the shelter, on the back of each picture of the ferret is the date of surrender. We also list Gender, Age, Color type, and then there are several lines for notes such as: climber, best friend is……..
Your family may remember that you have a banditt and a Loki but these names are not gender specific and they will not remember who is who! The more info you can provide the better your ferrets and or other pets will be cared for.
Updated: June 2017