The Ferret Inn

16 11 2008

Yesterday Michael and I drove up to Columbia, Maryland, to meet Nancy Wilson, who operates The Ferret Inn. The Ferret Inn Rescue & Shelter was one of five non-profit animal organizations that will receive a portion of the charitable contribution I was awarded by Oticon last month in Denver. Oticon is a leading hearing aid manufacturer and I won a Focus on People award in the adult category in this year’s awards program. Learn more about the 2008 Focus on People awards event from my posting here and see Oticon’s recent press release here. Barbara Kelley nominated me for the award. Barbara is the editor of Hearing Loss Magazine, which I design and produce bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America. Our most recent cover feature was Reed Doughty of the Washington Redskins.

I have chosen to donate my charitable contribution from Oticon to several animal-focused groups in honor of my very dear and greatly missed friend, George Hope Ledbetter, who passed away a year ago this November 9. George loved animals (as does his wife, Carmen) and I wanted to do something special to honor his memory. The other designees are Gene Baur’s Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York; Happy Tonics, Inc. in Shell Lake, Wisconsin; Wild Bunch Wildlife Rehabilitation, in Alexandria, Virginia; and Frisky’s Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary in Woodstock, Maryland. I shot the photograph below of George, with his beloved cocker spaniel, Angus, just after George retired from the Air Force.georgeangus1

Since The Ferret Inn is only about an hour away, I called Nancy to ask if I could present the check in person and see her operation. Michael and I had eight ferrets from about 1992-2004 and although we are ferret-less now, they still hold a special place in our hearts. On the way to Columbia we stopped at Petco to pick up some ferret treats, a hammock and some toys as an extra donation.

Nancy and her husband, Tom, operate the shelter and currently take care of 60 ferrets (down from 80!). They had a recent influx of 21 ferrets who arrived via a research facility. Two have since found their “forever homes.” In the first photo below, Nancy is surrounded by some of those ferrets.

The Ferret Inn has a staff of devoted volunteers to tend to these wonderful little critters. Nancy’s cat, Joey, competed for our attention and served as a sentry for this business of ferrets. (Did you know that a group of ferrets is called a “business” of ferrets?).

Michael named our first ferret Bandit—because of the mask around his eyes. If you know anything about ferrets, naming a masked ferret “Bandit” is about as generic and unoriginal as you can get. We did get better with names as time went by, though. One of our most rambunctious ferrets was named “Pogo Diablo”—translated as “Jumping Devil.” And that he most certainly was. Our ferret names, in order of acquisition, were: Bandit, Silver (another unoriginal name, silver is the name for a particular ferret coloring), Missy, Callie Jo, Ben, Pogo Diablo, Jessie Bell, and Ginger (yet another name for a particular ferret coloring). Jessie Bell and Ginger were adoptees from the Alexandria Animal Shelter. The shelter presently has six beautiful ferrets up for adoption here.

The cages at The Ferret Inn were labeled with fun names such as Napster, Jezebel, Peaches & Herb, Snickers, Jackie-O, Hunny, Cotton, Kitty & Kat, Shark (ferrets are commonly called “carpet sharks”), Bonnie & Clyde, Isis, Calypso, and Thelma & Louise (one of which is featured below, pulling her stuffed toy into a crinkle tube). Thelma & Louise were rescued from a “ferret mill” in Ohio, just two of more than 600 that were rescued and placed in rescue shelters across the country! Nancy’s ferrets are clearly well-loved, happy and healthy. Click here to see other ferrets up for adoption at The Ferret Inn.

The Ferret Inn is an approved 501(c)(3) non-profit and has been in operation since 1999. They specialize in ferret rescue, placement and boarding. Since their inception, they have placed approximately 900 ferrets. If you want to learn more about ferrets or might consider adopting one (or two!), call Nancy at 410/531-4936 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST, or e-mail There is an adoption application available for download here. The Ferret Inn also has ongoing opportunities for volunteers—click here for details.

Can’t adopt right now? Then consider donating to The Ferret Inn! Donations help offset high veterinary costs and keep the ferrets healthy and happy until they find their “forever homes.” Every little bit counts. The Ferret Inn takes donations via credit cards and through PayPal on their website here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.




3 responses

17 11 2008
sue cummings

What a cool picture of Nancy sitting in a sea of ferrets. Hey, that one photo looks like a cat and not a ferret, ha!

24 06 2009

Nice pictures. I have some articles on a site I am working on. The site is

29 06 2009

Your ferrets teeth are just like your teeth; they need to be brushed as well. If you don’t provide them with proper dental care they will get plaque build-up and tarter on there teeth. If not maintained this build up may lead to dental diseases. So, with a little preventative maintenance added to your grooming routine you will save yourself a costly Veterinary visit. Your ferret will thank you in the long run, because dental disease is painful as well as costly, this is ferret facts 101.

Professional dental care and cleaning is inevitable for your ferrets health. This can be delayed if you provide your ferret with a proper diet. One thing is limiting treats with sugar and a lot of carbohydrate. Yes I said carbohydrates, see carbohydrates will turn into sugar; so, use dry food and watch out on the treats, they really are not necessary. Eventually your ferret’s teeth will need cleaning. Some signs of this are:

· Yellow tint

· Possible brown spots with the tint

· Brown build up around the gums

Regular dental care check-ups are recommended with an experienced veterinarian; during this visit your veterinarian will do a thorough examination of your ferret’s mouth. If you are unable to brush the teeth of your ferret for one reason or another, you should set up an appointment with your veterinarian for a good cleaning and polish (AKA Prophylaxis). Your veterinarian will be anesthetizing your ferret to do this procedure. You will be amazed at the results when all that plaque and tarter build up is gone, again these are all ferret facts.

By now you know that not all veterinarians deal with ferrets, yours should specialize in them. This doesn’t mean they don’t see cats and dogs, but they have a large percentage of ferrets for clients. When they examine your ferret mouth they will check for:

· Anomalies

· Swelling

· Broken or cracked teeth

· Signs of disease

I can’t stress enough to every ferret owner the importance of proper dental care. I always recommend having a professional when having your ferrets teeth cleaned. They will have to use the same type of utensils your dentist use on your mouth. This is the reason they anesthetize your ferret. If your veterinarian asks about sealing the teeth, this is a good idea. It will stop further decay in your ferret’s teeth. Abscesses and broken canine teeth are problematic in ferrets. So, schedule routine check-ups. While doing your regular dental care, do your own examination for anything out of the ordinary, these ferret facts will save you money.

If you get your ferret as a kit, I recommend starting a dental care regime as soon as possible. You can use a toothbrush for cats, be careful to not over do it and stress-out your ferret. This is why you want to start early so they don’t know any better when they get older. Typically you will not be able to reach the back teeth, but by making them yawn (message below the ears near the jaw hinge) you should be able to get them. Make sure you brush in an up and down pattern. Always remember good dental care begins with prevention.

In conclusion these ferret facts should be implemented from day one. See your veterinarian annually and schedule prophylaxis appointments as needed they will take approximately 30 minutes depending on how bad your ferrets teeth are. If they do get dental disease they will need proper dental care provided by your veterinarian at least twice annually unless otherwise specified by your veterinarian. Check back for more fun filled ferret facts and learn more about ferrets.

For more article go to

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