If You Need to Find A Home For Your Ferret
One of the Ferret Association of Connecticut’s missions is to help find good, permanent homes for ferrets who can no longer be cared for by their owners. FACT operates a small ferret shelter, however, given that we have to cover the entire state, there are many times when we are at capacity. Unfortunately, there are far too many animals being sold than the existing shelter system can accommodate.
Providing this self-help brochure that provides tips for seeking a permanent new home for your ferrets is one way we try to assist. While the very best solution is to never have to give up your pet, unplanned life situations can occur. Rather than automatically assuming a shelter is your only option, we urge you to try to find a home yourself. It is far less stressful to your ferrets to go through only one major shift in living arrangements rather than two.
This information will help you screen potential adopters as well as ease your pet’s transition into a new home. Your work trying to place your pet means shelters will have room for animals that have been thrown out by irresponsible owners, ferrets truly without any other options.
Finding a new home won’t happen overnight. If you need to place your pets, start looking for a new home immediately. It can take weeks; don’t leave your search to the last minute!
We suggest SOME kind of fee for adoption (have it in your ad even if you later waive it). Someone willing to pay is usually more serious about ferret ownership rather then just looking for “something for nothing.” If someone cannot afford an initial fee, will they be able to afford care if the pet becomes ill?
There are people who look for free pets to use to train attack dogs or as “feeder” animals, but by screening and charging, you will weed out this kind of animal abuser.
Screening Potential Adopters
It is important when someone responds to an ad that you do an initial screening over the phone or via e-mail, then screen again when you meet them.
Some first questions:
When you meet, we suggest that you tell the new owner that you would like to check up on your animals occasionally. If they are reluctant, a warning buzzer should go off. Why not?
If they already have a ferret, ask that they bring them to see if the animals are compatible. Seeing their present pet can tell you a lot about how well they’ll care for yours. Check their ferret’s nails and coat. Is the pet taxi clean, with appropriate bedding?
Why so involved a process? Well, if you’ve owned your ferret for a while, you know they are unique pets with special needs. If the person you are talking with has never had a ferret before, they need to learn about what ferrets need to stay happy and healthy. An interview helps ensure people understand proper care. It also lets the new owner know that you really care about what happens to your pet.
If at all possible, we suggest you take the animal back if the adoption doesn’t work out. Also, offering follow-up advice on care or behavior may make the difference between the new owner keeping the animal or abandoning it. (You can also give them our organization’s contact data for information and support. We are willing to mail a new adoptor a free care book.)
Choosing a New Owner
Keep in Mind
An Adoption Contract
Consider using an agreement that both you and the new owner can sign stating what they’ve agreed to, such as keeping multiple ferrets together permanently, returns if it doesn’t work out, or follow up call or visitation privileges.
A contract can’t guarantee your ferrets will be properly cared for and will never be abandoned, but it is a signal to the new owner that you really care about the commitment they are making.
Be sure to give the following information to the new owners:
Providing this info will help ease your ferret’s transfer into a new home and help make the adoption “stick.” You’re not selling a used car—it’s not “buyer beware!” Cars don’t have feelings and can’t be hurt if they are mistreated due to ignorance. The new owner needs to know what they are working with.
The Best Friends Animal Society (www.bestfriends.org) has a detailed booklet about screening and adopting with a sample contract and interview checklist on their website—click on No More Homeless Pets, then Resource Library . They even have a downloadable flyer template you can personalize with a photo.
Adopting out your own pets is not easy, but it can give you tremendous piece of mind. It also greatly helps your local shelter so they can focus on dealing with ferrets whose owners cannot or will not take responsibility for their pet, or who are facing sudden emergencies.
Be prepared to take some time searching. Be choosy for your pets and you will know you have truly done all you can for them. You’ll feel better and it will be certainly be better for your ferrets.
Please! NEVER abandon your animal out of doors or in an empty home or apartment! Try to negotiate a temporary arrangement with a friend or new landlord to keep the ferret long enough to find a home. If you become desperate and run out of time, call us. You can also try contacting the MSPCA in Springfield, MA at 413.785.1221 or MA Friends of Ferrets at 781.224.1098. If nothing else, bring the animal to a Humane Society, Animal Control or place it in a cage or carrier outside the door of a pet store or vet hospital (on a day when they’ll be open and the weather permits). Kind staff will try to find a place for it. Leaving an animal to starve is a FELONY. It is also incredibly cruel and heartless.
Written by the Ferret Association of Connecticut, Inc. All rights reserved.