It has been another eventful year here at Ferrets and Friends, LLC! This summer was our busiest summer yet with a total of 99 programs reaching over 2,000 participants in June through August. To accommodate our increasingly busy schedule, we have hired two additional animal educators, Sam and Donte.
Unfortunately, we were unable to move forward with our plan to add pony parties to our list of available packages as we had hoped. This was due to logistical issues with insurance coverage and scheduling. For now, we will be continuing to offer the same mix of packages that have made us a popular choice for live animal shows in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.
This year was our first year that we did not add any new animals to our program. We also debuted the remaining new animals that were added to our program in 2018. This includes Thor the albino boa constrictor and Loki the blue-tongue skink. Jubilee the Harlequin Macaw parrot also began flight training this year as she has regrown her flight feathers after being clipped. With her three foot wingspan, she is a sight to behold in the air!
World of Pets Expo 2019
We returned to the World of Pets Expo this year at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. This year, we were stationed next to The Drawing Zoo and we provided an educational show on Saturday and Sunday. Many of you came to visit and were excited to say hello to your favorite friends. Even Sokka, our more shy chinchilla, made a rare appearance.
Our Friends' Health in 2019
In 2019, most of our animals continued to be in good health. Our oldest ferret, Jack, has continued to have his adrenal disease symptoms under control with the use of his implant. Jessica, the bunny, had a brief period of not eating which was quickly resolved by a visit to the veterinarian. For rabbits, it is important that they eat consistently throughout the day otherwise they can have severe problems with their GI track. If they stop eating or defecating, they should be seen by a veterinarian immediately to determine the cause and to get them back on track to prevent further harm.
Unfortunately, we had two unexpected deaths this year. The first was Kurt, our green cheek conure. Kurt was a personal pet of the owner before Ferrets and Friends was even an idea. He became a favorite among staff for his tendency to say "thank you!" and his goofy antics which included hanging upside down and investigating people's jewelry and accessories. Kurt's death was sudden and unexpected. During an out of cage training session, Kurt attempted flight but instead fluttered to the floor and appeared to be in pain. As the trainer scooped him up to assess his condition and apply first aid, Kurt passed away in less than a minute. The exact cause of death is undetermined, but thought to be an aneurysm or a traveling blood clot. Kurt's mate, Domino, was removed from the show schedule for six months to allow her time for grieving and to establish a new routine. During this time, Domino bonded more closely with staff members. To everyone's surprise, Domino returned to doing shows with more enthusiasm than expected. She even started saying "thank you", a phrase that she no doubt learned from Kurt. Kurt will always be remembered for his lively attitude and his spunk.
Our second unexpected death was our Panther Chameleon, Genie. He began to spend more time towards the bottom of his cage and was taken to our veterinarian for assessment. His blood work all returned normal with no obvious cause for illness. Our veterinarian was able to rule out infection and other problems. Months later, he started losing weight and had a gradual decline. After being hydrated by hand and tong-fed, Genie stopped eating and drinking all together. He was giving subcutaneous fluids with the hopes that it might perk him up to return to eating. With no improvement in his condition and no obvious paths of treatment, Genie was humanely euthanized to prevent further suffering.
New to the zoo in 2019
In 2019, we did not add any new animals to our program. We did, however, add two new staff members. We are excited to have Sam and Donte as the newest members of our team. Sam has experience working with exotic pets at the veterinary practice where she works. Donte has been part of the pet care team at a local pet store and plans to go to school for herpetology (the study of reptiles). We look forward to seeing them grow and develop their own personal styles in our programs.
This year we had an opportunity to pause, catch up, and reassess our own goals and growth. We have continued our partnership with Pets on Wheels in their mission to help lick loneliness through pet therapy. Part of that partnership includes Hospice of the Chesapeake who has linked us with patients who would benefit from a visit from our qualified animal friends. In 2020, we are hoping to expand our partnership in a way that might bring us in a more artistic direction. Stay tuned to find out more!
Until then, we hope you have all had a happy holiday and we wish you a happy new year!
About the blog
Ferrets and Friends, LLC has four writers bringing you information on a variety of topics from pets to wildlife, education to conservation, and from new developments in our business to information about our industry. Learn something new each week!