Welcome to the blog for the Oregon Ferret Shelter! Ideally, this will be a nice venue for friends of the shelter to get information about what is going on with the shelter. Or maybe just to view some funny gifs.

To get to the Oregon Ferret Shelter's main website, please visit OregonFerretShelter.org

Friday, December 10, 2010

Axe Shampoo: Animal Lovers or Axe-holes?

In the fall of 2010, an Axe Shampoo commercial appeared on local network television. It did not show ferrets in a very good light.
The commercial shows a man next to a woman at a gym, working out on treadmills and flirting a bit. Then another man turns on a fan, which starts blowing on the couple.
Dirt and grime starts to fly out of the man’s hair. The grime hits various patrons of the gym at high velocities.
Suddenly, a fake ferret detaches from the guy’s hair and flies across the room to hit a weightlifter in the crotch. Then the shot changes to the floor, where a young ferret (it looks like almost a baby ferret -- it still has that soft baby fur) is walking on the floor.
Next, you see the guy shampooing with Axe Shampoo. Then, in the sauna (Who goes in the sauna AFTER you shampoo and shower? You'd just get sweaty and stinky again. Dumbasses.), the woman is rubbing his hair in a sensual way. You hear: “Lose the grime. Get touchably clean hair with Axe Shampoo and get some hair action.”
From this, we are supposed to surmise: Ferrets are stinky animals that smell like sweaty man-crotches, having this smell is like throwing dirt in strangers’ faces, and covering up ferret smell with Axe will get you laid. Oh, and throwing baby animals is funny and safe.
Axe’s parent company, Unilever, says that they are “committed to the elimination of animal testing.” They want us to believe they care about animals.
What do you think? Do you think they love animals? Let Unilever know how you feel about this anti-ferret message by contacting them at: http://www.unilever.com/resource/Contactform/?WT.LHNAV=Contact_form.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Someone called the ASPCA

So someone read my blog, but they didn't post to it or let me know what they were thinking. They felt compassion and righteous anger over the plight of shelter animals. They turned that feeling into action, which is a good impulse. But they didn't do the right good thing. Instead, they called the ASPCA and reported Chris Mathis, the shelter owner.
So the ASPCA came out and looked over the ferrets. And they gave the OK. Because, of course, all of the ferrets are well cared for, get regular exercise, have food and water, and clean bedding, and their litter boxes are cleaned regularly. No ferret ever goes hungry here, or has less-than-adequate housing. Ever.
The only thing they need? HOMES! Yes, HOMES! Loving caring homes where they can be held and cherished every day by someone bonded to them. That is the one thing we cannot provide -- the sense that they are a beloved part of a family. That's where you come in.
Seriously. If you want to help, don't call the authorities. Chris deals with them all the time. She knows all the people, and believe me, if there was ANYTHING bad going on at the shelter, they would come down on her like a frickin' hammer. LIKE A HAMMER!
Oregon has some very smart and dedicated animal control workers, and they work very hard to make animals safe here in Oregon. Chris is one of the good ones. That's why I am so very proud to be one of her volunteers.
Chris has a small but very loyal core of volunteers to help her. If you want to help those ferrets, call her at 503-557-8369 and join us. You can help in dozens of ways. You can help clean cages. You can trim fingernails. You can write an article for the newsletter about how much you love your ferret -- and send a picture of your ferret in too! You can make a ferret-based craft to sell at our Weasels Dancing in the Park auction. You can sew sleepy sacks or hammocks.
You can always get us stuff for the ferrets. You can go buy wood pellets at CBI feed in Redland. They are located at 17141 S Redland Rd. Their phone number is 503-925-8903. We can always use food that we purchase wholesale at West Coast Seed, 503-657-3473 (Zupreem Ferret Diet). We can use any type of ferret diet and even Costco's Maintenance Cat Food in the dark purple bag. Any ferret food is good -- we never know what a ferret will be eating when they come in, and it takes time to switch their diet over to the nutritious stuff.
There are probably a thousand other ideas I am just not thinking of at the moment, but maybe you can think of them and tell us in a response to this post.
Please, come be a part of this noble endeavor. Help us to help ferrets. Call Chris at 503-557-8369. If you want to make a REAL difference, call our number and don't call the ASPCA.
And if you REALLY REALLY want to help, come adopt a few of these guys. The best thing for them would be to get adopted. Read our materials, read "Ferrets for Dummies", read other books and stuff online about ferrets, then come and get a few. Ultimately, that's what we want for these guys -- to be adopted out to loving, knowledgeable homes who will never let them go. So prepare yourself, then come take a look at some of our kids in our Petfinder listings at http://tinyurl.com/OFSPetfinder. Then call for an appointment: 503-557-8369.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Argh. So many little guys.

So I heard today that the shelter now has more than 200 little ferrets to feed. I went there to take some pictures. I have to start taking pictures quickly because if I stare over the rows and rows of furry heads for too long, I start to get freaked out.

While I was there, we had one return, two relinquishments, and one adoption. That's a three to one ratio of in to out. That can't be good. And this was just for a few hours.

After I went home and showered (cause photographing ferrets is sweaty work), I let out my own furkids to play. I have 10. I was wondering to myself if there was some way I could support more. Even though I KNOW we cannot afford more, I still ask myself that question every time I come home. It seems like I cannot possibly be doing enough.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Halloween! And Technical Difficulties!

This month's meeting has been moved up to the 16th of October due to terribly sad circumstances (a funeral).
This is very sad.
But what is even sadder is my inability to let everyone know about this change. I am trying to piece together a emailing list from the various emails that have been sent to me. I wish I had not been so lazy until now -- having a working list of people invoved would have been a reeeeeeeally good idea.
So now I am wishing and hoping that I reach enough people in time.
If you are redaing this, and you haven't been told not to show up on the 9th, then I apologize.
There has got to be a better way...

There is a Partylite Fundraiser coming up on November 5th. I'll be posting the flier for that online. Check our website's news page for further information.


Usually, most of the latest information can be found there. If it's not there, it means I am SWAMPED and will get to it as soon as possible.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shelter Cleaning Day!

Although it is not the most glamorous part of rescue, Shelter Cleaning Day is a very important part of animal shelter work. It's that one day a year where everyone you can find will get together and help clean out the built-up crud around the shelter walls, cages, and floor. It is a vital part of the process, especially since some ferrets can be so sensitive to allergens (just like humans, sometimes you get a ferret with allergies).

Shelter Cleaning Day can also wreak havoc on your arms, legs, and butt, especially if you are not in shape (I am not) and if you aren't used to using a power washer (again, I am not). Even now, the Tuesday after, my butt still wants to know why we thought we could spend nine hours power washing and cleaning walls. I can't really answer that except to say that SOMEONE had to! Next time, perhaps, someone ELSE can be that "someone".

Included in this post are some pix I snapped while we were there. Look at the beautiful blue sky in the background of the third picture! At least the weather was perfect for it. We were lucky to get as much done as we did -- the next day, it poured rain. (Typical Oregon weather)

Many heartfelt thanks go out to all of the people who were there to help out. Your efforts were greatly needed and appreciated.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

HR 669

Some of my friends are really upset with HR 669, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act. I am pretty upset too. It has the potential to make ferrets illegal everywhere. I really want to follow the law. I hate breaking it -- I am a natural goody two-shoes (which is why I work for charities). But if this bill passes, it's going to make me into a criminal because I am not willing to give up my ferrets.

(As an aside: Do lawmakers really have nothing better to do? Really? Cause they can call me and I'll give them stuff to do. Like sift through Haliburton's files and find exactly who made the decision to use substandard parts on ther oil rig to save money. Or, if that's too hard, they can clean up some cage poop. I know they made this bill because someone's GIGANTIC DANGEROUSLY ANGRY CHIMP WITH A HISTORY OF ATTACKING PEOPLE tore off a woman's face. But making every single animal in the United States illegal and then picking which ones should be legal? That is astonishingly stupid on levels rarely reached by mankind.)

As a Democrat, I wanted to know what Obama thought of it. It looks like the original bill was made by Democrats, so he might actually agree with it, even though it is supremely, profoundly stupid.

So, I thought maybe I'll give Obama the benefit of the doubt. He sounds like a rational man. And he seems to like animals. So I wrote him this letter:

I know that you have many huge issues occupying your mind. But I have a question about HR 669, the Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act, an act that outlaws almost every animal (with few exceptions) in the United States unless they make it through an "approval process" run by one person, “The Secretary”.
As a volunteer for the Oregon Ferret Shelter, I know literally thousands of people and animals whose fates rest upon your opinion of this legislation.
Do you approve of HR 669?
If you do, millions of animals' lives are at risk. I personally know many people who plan to leave the country if you sign this bill into law. They see their pets as family, and they are angry about having their families at risk of being killed. Very angry.
My friends are asking me to get your opinion. They are afraid that you will act like Rudy Giuliani and arbitrarily make millions of ferrets illegal across the country, forcing people to leave their homes and livelihoods in order to protect their pets. (Giuliani's actions are a matter of record.)
What is your opinion of this legislation? Will you sign it if it comes before you? We need to know.

No response yet. As soon as he sends me a response, I promise to post it up for you to see.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I miss Monsieur Ferret

Monsieur Ferret was a really great guy who died last week. Even though he had a difficult case of Irritable Bowel Disease that made him almost impossible to adopt out, he was a huge sweetheart, kind and cuddly to everyone.

Monsieur was one of my shelter favorites. I first took to him because I was kind of sad that his owner had not given him a real name. (I mean, his name means "Mr. Ferret" in French, FFS.) Then, as I got to know Monsieur, I fell in love with his great personality and his winsome ways. I was sad that he needed so much extra care and medications because, in every other way, he was a low-maintenance, go-with-the-flow kind of guy.

I feel sad that he had to live at the shelter for so long. But I am glad that he got to meet so many people who grew to love him. I hope that he is happy now. If anyone deserves to be happy and free of pain, Monsieur does.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Borus the Snake

I just wanted to share this really strange picture I got of Borus, a 2-year-old chocolate guy at the shelter. He has all of his limbs, even though he looks like a snake in this picture.

How weird is that? My husband thought I'd Photoshopped it, but I didn't. I'm not sure how I captured him at just the right angle and time. It's just bizarre.

Pictures of Rainier

I mentioned in a former post about how much I wished I had pics of Rainier before he got adopted by Mike and Janice.

Rainer was the ferret who had to have his collar surgically removed.

Lisa Harris heard the call and sent me some pictures she had taken. Yay!

You can see how well he has healed over. With a little time, all the fur will probably grow back. Then he'll be a normal little guy again.

I hope that Mike and Janice can bring him by for a visit soon. They are such good ferret parents.

Even though Rainier is healing well, don't forget the lesson this situation teaches: Do not leave a collar on your ferret that is too tight -- make sure you can get it off of him. In fact, you should not use a collar on your ferret at all except for special occasions, and then only if he or she is being supervised.

I know people are going to want to put collars on their ferret. I know it makes them look adorable. And you may think that it makes them easy to identify as pets and keeps them safe if they should escape. (And if we were talking about a dog or cat, or another larger or differently shaped animal, I would totally be there with you in advocating collar and tag usage.)

But a ferret is different. They are built differently. Their shape, so useful in slinking through burrows and getting into tight spots, makes it almost impossible to wear a collar without suffering damage.

If you want to keep your ferret safe, by far the best solution is to microchip and register them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Arnie: A Severe Abuse Case (graphic photos)

At our last meeting, Chris was apologizing for the state of her house.

"I didn't have time to clean today. I had to go to Salem and get this poor guy."

She was holding a little white ferret, wrapped in a towel, in her arms.

Chris told us that Animal Control found him in an apartment. The owners had moved out and left him behind. His cage was filthy, and he was covered in his own feces. He was skin and bones. It was a miracle that he lived long enough for her to go get him.

The worst thing?

"After I gave him a bath, I saw this."

She opened the towel, and there was a golf-ball sized tumor on his abdomen. It was right behind his penis. His skin was red and bleeding, and it looked infected (which wouldn't be surprising, considering his cage conditions).

"He needs a name."

"How about Arnie?" I said.

"Why Arnie?"

"Cause that's a tooomah," I said.

The little white ferret squinted his approval. And so he was named Arnie.

Little Arnie was paraded and passed around the room and given many many cuddles and pets. He loved all the attention. He was very sweet and gentle, in spite of the horrible treatment he had been given and the obviously painful tumor.

"This is where your raffle dollars are going tonight, "Chris told us. "All the money we earn from the raffle goes to his surgery tomorrow."

So we dug deeeeep.

"He's going in tomorrow, whether we have enough money or not," Chris said. "Well, if he makes it through the night."

We spent the whole evening cherishing this one ferret. It was terrible to think that his owners had just left him behind. We wondered if they knew he had a tumor and were just waiting for him to die, or if they had just not cared enough to notice. We wondered a lot of things.

Sadly, Arnie did not make it through the night. He went septic, and they could not save him.

But at least he got to have one night where he was the center of attention, loved on, held, and cherished. At least he didn't have to die alone.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Goodbye, Houdini

We lost one of our shelter favorites last week. His name was Houdini.

Houdini was a mellow and loving pewter guy. He was so mellow and loving that he served as an ambassador ferret for quite some time. His last official gig as an ambassador was at the Northwest Pet Expo last year, and he was such a charmer! He was truly a shining star.

Houdini was a slim and gorgeous guy in spite of his senior status. He was easy to pick out of the crowd. He had a "Y" on his head. (Lin said it was for "Y not adopt me?") He was quite distinguished and handsome, being a sable tuxedo with very sharp headlights -- the clearest and best headlights I had ever seen. (Headlights are white spots on the knee, very desirable markings for ferrets.) He was also known for having a natural "smile", especially when he slept. (See pic)

Houdini had a lot of personality. This guy was a natural love: He was always friendly and loving toward people, and he was never aggressive in any way. He also was very playful and friendly with other ferrets, and he could wardance with the best of them.

Last year, when he was 4, he was retired from his ambassador job, but he still was called to serve on occasion. We were hoping that this very deserving guy would find a home to call his own. But he never did. Instead, he made the lives of the shelter volunteers a little bit brighter.

He was found in his sleepy sack last Wednesday, his customary smile still on his face. We'll miss you, Houdini. Sleep well, Little Man.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

We have stuff on eBay!

We're selling items on eBay!

eBay link here!

Lots of books! GO GET EM!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Calling all ferret shelters!

Your help is needed immediately!!! We are working with Petco to get them to STOP carrying ferrets in their stores. We need numbers to present to them with of how many ferrets you have in shelter at this time. We need to give Petco a huge idea of the impact that they, as a retailer, are having on the shelters. We want them to have the mindset that ferrets are the third largest companion pet population in the USA! The reason they give for not selling puppies and kittens is that there are so many of them available in rescue! Well, they need to realize that there are many many ferrets in rescue too!
So here is a chance for you to help make a difference. Send me your current shelter numbers up for adoption and numbers of permanent residents that for some reason are not adoptable. How much did you spend in medical care for the ferrets? Did Petco give you any financial assistance for their care?
Thanks for taking the time to get this information back to me. I will need this information no later than February 23rd.
Please send all data directly to oregonferretshelter@comcast.net. Thank you!
Chris Mathis
Director, Oregon Ferret Shelter

MaryKate needs a home

MaryKate is a little upset at being at the OFS for more than two years now. She would like a home with her friend, Ashley, please.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rainer got a home! And new newsletter!

At our Valentine's Day meeting, Rainer got a new home! Rainer was the ferret who had to have his collar surgically removed. Mike and Janice, two of the nicest and most responsible people you could ever meet, heard his story and adopted him on the spot. I only wish I had gotten more pictures of his face before they left!

Yay for Rainer!

Also, the newsletter for Winter has been released! Twelve lovely pages of stuff we did over Fall and Winter. Special bonus -- Santa Paws pictures! Very silly stuff.

Clicky clicky here for the newsletter!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Valentine's Day is coming up!

We're having a big Valentine's Day event on Saturday, February 13th. Make a valentine for your ferret to put in the mix. We'll be exchanging them at the party. What kind of Valentine? Think back to grade school! Get out your crafty kits and safety scissors! Or buy Kermit the Frog ones at Walmart. However you want to do it is fine for us. Bring one Valentine for each one you want to take home.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why you should never use a collar -- GRAPHIC!

Some people think that all ferrets should wear collars, that a collar is the best way to identify them as a pet to the outside world. (Microchips are really the best, but the allure of a collar is that it can easily be seen and read without special equipment.) They believe that if your ferret should escape, a collar would keep people from thinking that your pet is a wild animal and reacting with fear and/or force. They also think that a collar could also tell everyone whom the ferret belongs to and thus help him or her find their way home.

As a cat owner, I see their point. I have collars on both of my cats and my dog. After all, until animals can speak, it is our job to give them a voice -- and a collar is a good way to provide it.

However, I don't put collars on my ferrets (well, except for very short periods of time, such as when I am taking them for a walk or to an outdoor event). I don't, and I won't.


1. My ferrets hate collars. If my pets are any indication, they would rather spend hours figuring out how to slough off a collar like a dead snakeskin than spend the time enjoying the outdoor scenery. A collar is a challenge, not an adornment. Mine take it personally when I give them a collar or harness, and if looks could kill, I would be a very dead person a thousand times over.

2. In order for a collar to stay on a ferret, it has to be tight. Very tight. Tight enough for them to be unable to snorgle their way out of it. And that can lead to gruesome damage (see below).

3. If you buy a collar that fits, you have to be vigilant about changing it as your ferret grows and changes. And a ferret's body can change a lot from season to season. My ferrets are not shy about fattening up for the winter. They can gain or lose 6 ounces depending on when you measure them. And when you only weigh about 2 or 3 pounds, 6 ounces can make a huge difference! If you don't monitor your ferrets closely while they are wearing collars, they can grow themselves into a dangerous situation.

In the following pictures, which are gruesome, Rainer's owner did not take his body changes into account. Rainer grew up, but his collar didn't. The collar had to be removed surgically by Dr. Katrina Ramsell. Thank God that we had the facilities to remove this guy's collar before it choked him to death or caused other damage.

Let these pictures be a warning. If you choose to put a collar on your ferret, please please please keep a vigilant eye on them. Don't let this happen to your baby.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Letter of Appreciation

We recently adopted out Angel, a lovely sable girl who I remember as a very hard sleeper. Imagine how surprised and pleased I was when I received this note in my inbox! It made us so happy that I thought I would share.

"i just wanted to say i was sooooo happy when i went to your ferret rescue today. i adopted angel and couldnt be happier. she is wonderful!!!! i have never had a better experience and i am so glad. i will let every one i know who is interested in a ferret know about you guys. and again thank you so much, angel is, well just like her name a angel. thank you!!!"

Thank you!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Do Cats and Ferrets Get Along?

As long as the cat respects the ferret, yes.
However, if the cat (or kitten) say, jumps into the playpen with no warning and tries to bat the ferret around like a cat toy, there might be problems.

Gizmo here thought it would be a really fun idea to jump into the play yard with Snowy. Snowy did not agree.

Many ferrets will hold their ground if confronted. Most ferrets know no fear.

Snowy's tail is about three sizes too big. But she's going NOWHERE!

But ferrets are generally pretty forgiving too. Two minutes after the fight, they are best friends -- THROUGH THE BARS ONLY though!