Shelter operators tend to be very protective of their special needs
ferrets. Many times these ferrets have been neglected or abused,
requiring extra time and care to rehabilitate. Elderly ferrets require
extra time and care to maintain quality life. All that extra time and
care creates a "this is the best place for this ferret" mindset that is
extremely difficult for a shelter operator to overcome. A vet would
probably have to beg and plead to adopt one of these critters, and even
then the shelter operator would be on pins and needles worrying.
Of course, environmental change stress (shelter shock) is often fatal in
elderly ferrets. It takes weeks (preferably months) of preparation to
move them to a new home safely.
In the case of ferrets with histories of biting, many shelters are
reluctant to release them for adoption because an initial "It's ok if he
bites" often does a 180 degree turn-around when a grandbaby or the
neighbor's kid is the one that gets bit. And it's ALWAYS a "freak"
incident when that happens. No amount of prevention can guarrantee it
will never happen. And, oddly, perversely, enough... the shelter
operator's first concern is "will they hit the ferret, even if it's just
a shock reaction?" because of it. Then the shelter operator feels bad
because he/she thought of injury to the ferret before injury to the child.
Again, it's a mindset.
Be gentle us poor, misguided, denial-frought shelter operators. Beg
softly and persistently. Keep stressing that you have more time to give
and can more easily afford to provide the very best medical care.
Ferrets First Foster Home
Practical & easy training, care, & maintenance articles available at
[Posted in FML issue 3671]