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