There will be plenty of ferreting around at St. Vital Park on June 15.
That’s the date of the Manitoba Ferret Association and No-Kill Shelter’s Ferret Frolic in the Park. The event will run, rain or shine, from 1 to 4 p.m. and be held across from the park’s duck pond, located at 190 St. Vital Rd. It’s open to ferret owners and their ferrets and individuals interested in the animals.
In keeping with the association’s mandate, Deb Kelley, the shelter’s operator and a founder member of the MFA, said the annual event provides a much-needed cash boost while providing free public education and information relating to the proper care of ferrets in a fun environment. Association members will be on hand to answer questions and there will be ferret products on sale.
There will also be games and prizes and competitions in categories such as the heaviest male and the lightest female and the Great Tube Race, when the first ferret to emerge out of the end of a long tube wins. Every ferret in attendance will go home with a free gift.
"We’ve been hosting the tube race for 15 years and it’s by far our most popular event," said Kelley, who lives in North Kildonan.
"Some ferrets go halfway down the tube and then turn around and come back, while others might stop and take a snooze. We like to have fun while we educate."
The shelter has three locations — one in Kelley’s home and two others in Steinbach and Winnipeg Beach — and currently has approximately 70 surrendered, abandoned, neglected and abused ferrets in its collective care.
"We provide medical attention, good food, warm blankets, toys, rehabilitation and loving care to ownerless ferrets in a home-like environment. No ferret is ever turned away and there is no surrender fee," Kelley said, noting the average lifespan of a ferret is six to eight years.
Wherever possible, the shelter’s younger, healthy ferrets are adopted into qualified homes.
"And if a pair of ferrets is surrendered and they are best buddies, we don’t split them up. They are adopted as a pair," she added.
The shelter has placed more than 600 healthy ferrets since it was founded in 1997.
Kelley notes that ferrets might not be for everyone, so encourages individuals to come to the frolic and learn more about their potential compatibility.
"Educate yourself and find out if a ferret is the right pet for you. Before you get that cute baby ferret at the pet store, come and find out the good, the bad and the ugly. We’ll tell you the good points, but also the bad points, because we want you to be informed," Kelley said.
"Ferrets are unique animals and are so happy and thrilled with life and so entertaining. You can come home from being fired and they’ll still light up your life. One day they might steal your car keys from your purse and hide them and another day they’ll find a 16-pack of toilet rolls and line them up one-by-one under the coffee table. Ferrets are like potato chips. You can’t stop at one."
For more information, visit www.manitobaferrets.ca