When ferrets come into our shelter, there is a specific procedure that is followed:
1. They are given a physical exam, nails trimmed, coat checked, teeth, and for any medical problems.
2. The owners are given a form to complete which goes into as much detail as they can answer.
3. We complete an ID sheet which includes the ferret’s markings, sex, age, personality, history, bonding, medical problems and places for dates of vaccinations and microchipping
4. The ferrets are given a distemper shot and are microchipped at this time.
5. Then they usually go into a playpen where there is food and fresh water. If they have been on a food not in our mixture, we add some of what they have been onto ours. Here they get to explore the toys, get used to smells and noises, and have a chance to unwind from their trip. Also, I will be able to observe them to see if their behavior is normal or if they have some maneuvering problem. When I agree to take in the ferrets, I usually ask for some bedding item of theirs not to be washed but brought where it will have their familiar smell and I’ll put this into the playpen and later into the cage they will be put in.
6. They are quarantined until the next Tues after their arrival. After the vet visit, they will get out time. We will look to see If they are loners or if they seem comfortable, will try to mix them with mild mannered ferrets in the playpen. This will tell me if they are social, or afraid, or aggressive with other ferrets. Also this tells me a lot if they have come in as a pair or more whether they are truly bonded. If they hang out with their buddies and then take naps with them, I figure them to be bonded, if they go off with another and take naps with them, then that is a sign they were only “bonded” because they had no other choice. Some come in and there is no question they are bonded, others it just takes time to observe what they are doing.
7. Behavioral problems are addressed, whether litter trained, destructive, nippers or whatever. We work with these problems and try to solve it OR we make notes on the ID sheets to notify any potention adoptor of same.
8. Those with medical problems are marked on record for when they do go to the vet. If they aren’t acting right, I will usually do a blood test to see if Insulnomia. If they do have a problem such as adrenal or insulnomia or ???, it is noted on their ID sheet which accompanies them to the vet and a different color cage card is made out on them. They are usually placed in the sick room for observation or to be put on meds.
9. As stated, Tues all new ferrets go to the vet for their rabies vaccination and health exam – the teeth, eyes, ears, heart, temperature, are checked along with any signs of tumors or mass cell tumors.
10. Once home and when I can get the help, will take 4 pictures of each and write a bio from the information the owner gave and my observation to put on FB, Petfinder, and Pet Portal.
11. They are then caged with a tag on their door stating name, microchip #, sex, color, age and date of arrival. If bonded, their names will be on a shingle card, if not, the cards are individual.
12. There are 6 playpens 3 covered for climbers. Knowing personalities, the ferrets are placed in the playpens together with members of other cages and the playpen # is placed on their cages so they are returned to the same cage. They are usually out for play time for at least 3 or 4 hours. Sometimes several cage groups can be placed into one playpen, sometimes they have to be singular or just the cage mates in one playpen due to socializing problems. They are rotated each time out to different playpens so they have different toys to play. It is NOT enough time I would like for them to have but with so many, we are limited. We depend on their getting into their forever home to have that needed time out.
The screening process for potential adoptors is to complete a form on line. It is reviewed by our Application Co-ordinator. We do not adopt to everyone and have certain rules to follow. She screens the appliers answers and checks on whether they are in an apartment or a home, if they are owner or what. If not the owner, we ask for a letter from the management or owner they are allowed to have ferrets. (If caught with ferrets in an apartment, they normally give only 24 hours to get rid of the pet). She also follows up with the vets when the adoptors have other pets to see if they are up to date on vaccinations and HW care. If they don’t take care of the animals they have, they won’t take care of the ferrets either.
Once approved, the adoptor calls for an appointment as I am a home, not a store. When we meet, they are allowed to see the ferrets in the cages and pick out the ones they are interested in. They are put in playpens (the ferrets, not the adoptors) and the adoptors get to see them unwind. They are encouraged to take them out and interact with them, play with them, get to know them till finally a match is made. They have a contract to sign which states we are not responsible if the ferrets bites, that if they do have to rehome them for any reason, they are to bring the ferret back to us, and last to let us know how they have adapted to the match within 30 days. When they are ready to leave with their ferret(s), they are given a copy of the contract which also shows date of rabies vaccine with the vets certificate and tag, the date of distemper, sticker of the brand of vaccine, the microchip tag, two extra stickers with the michrochip # plus one on the bottom of the sheet. This goes into a folder containing much information such as the Kroger sign up, the how to recognize adrenal tumors, soup recipes, vet print out on what you need to tell the vet and what to ask the vet if your ferret gets sick, as well as other brochures.