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

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It ain't all frickin roses...

I got a complaint on my Facebook account that one of our posts was not done to a reader's liking. She referred to the Robin Williams post and was horrified that I had dared to insult him for saying this:

He told Empire magazine: "The ferret is the most annoying animal. I'm probably going to get hate mail from angry ferret owners now, 'How dare you insult the ferret! It's basically a loveable weasel.' "There's a show in America where all these people compete with ferrets and they don't even do anything. They basically hold them up and if they don't bite you might win."

I think her anger comes from a basic misunderstanding of what we in the animal rescue world have to endure every day. She, along with many other people, has this idea that animal rescue is all fun and games, that we just get up every day and sing while petting all the ferrets in turn, maybe gleefully chucking around a little food (like feeding chickens), and playing games until the sun goes down, when we sing lullabyes to our charges and tiptoe out while they sleep soundly.

She doesn't realize that every day is a battle. Every. Single. Day.

* Will we have enough food for this month?
* Will the donations come through or do we have to dip into our retirement fund again?
* Will we be able to pay our mortgage?
* Do we have enough money to get surgery for this poor guy who has a giant bloody tumor on his neck?
* Some celebrity just said that ferrets kill people. How many calls are we going to have to field and tell people ferrets don't do that? How many people will just drop off their ferrets anyway, sometimes just driving up and chucking them into our front yard?
* Do we have enough gas to go pick up the ferrets that someone left in a field/in an abandoned apartment/in a parking lot? Will we get there before someone or something kills them?
* Can we get to the Humane Society/local animal control/other animal rescue to pick up those found ferrets before they put them to sleep? For example, the local Humane Society won't take care of ferrets. Instead they give them to us -- as long as we can get out there and get them before someone decides they are too much trouble to hang on to, even for a few hours.

These are just some of the questions we have had to answer over the years. Animal rescue is just that -- rescue. It is dangerous, hard work that is 24/7 with no breaks. It takes every dollar it can find, and it never pays salaries (at least our shelter cannot afford to pay -- we are an all-volunteer outfit). The burnout rate for animal rescue is even higher than that for cops and nurses. And there are always cases we can't save, we don't get to in time, or simply don't have the equipment for, and these cases haunt us every day and give us enormous guilt.

So yeah, we get cheesed off when a celebrity makes our lives that much harder. And we may, on occasion, tell the world how it impacts us. We may even get angry and write a letter saying how angry we are.

But as hard as it may be for a reader to read those words, at least those readers don't have to live with these horrible situations every single day. But we do. And we don't do it to make other people happy or to get kudos. We do it because of the ferrets. They are innocent victims of stupid human politics, of greed, of misinformation, of lies, and of senseless horrific cruelty. We do it to tip the scales a little bit in the other direction.

So, if you don't like the opinions expressed here, don't read it. These words are not for the weak. They are for my fellow animal rescue warriors, the ones who selflessly put in their time to help make the ferrets' world a better place. And if you can't help us, even just by telling other people that we exist and are here to help ferrets, then go find something else to read.