2019: A Year in Review
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!
2018: A Year in Review
It has been another big year for Ferrets and Friends, LLC. This year, we debuted a new package system to create more flexibility for our customers. Our macaw parrot has been a popular new addition to our already diverse and colorful crew. We updated our reptile enclosures to a great new setup from Animal Plastics. We also moved to a larger and more spacious location to provide more space for all of our animals friends.
We added three new species to our shows this year including our African Pygmy Hedgehog, Harlequinn Macaw, and Mexican Red Knee Tarantula. For 2019, we are not planning on adding any new species to our collection. Instead, we will be partnering with Astoria Dressage to add pony party packages next summer.
Unfortunately this year, we said goodbye to quite a few of our cherished animals stars and an excellent animal educator. Miss Lina is no longer with Ferrets and Friends and has relocated with her animals. Over the past couple years, she shared her passion for animals at a total of 122 events and worked hard on our social media accounts and marketing. We thank her for her hard work and wish her the best in her future endeavors!
While we said goodbye to some of our animal friends due to this change, we also experiences some significant deaths. Two of our ferrets, Samson and Ramona, passed away this spring. Samson retired earlier this year due to the progression of his insulinoma. We lost Samson shortly after his sixth birthday. Ramona had an unexpected and unknown illness for which she was humanely euthanized during an emergency veterinary visit. She was five years old when she passed. We regret to say that ferret lifespans are far too short and healthy ferrets can suddenly become extremely ill in a short amount of time. It is important to find out in advance about what emergency veterinary services near you are equipped to care for ferrets.
Our Friends' Health in 2018
In 2018, our animals have had fewer illnesses than they did in the previous year. This is mostly due to the average age of our ferrets. In 2017, we had four ferrets over the age of three years old which is a common age for ferrets to become ill. After our two oldest ferrets passed in the spring, our oldest ferret is now Jack who is three years old. Unfortunately, Jack was diagnosed with adrenal disease this summer. The good news is that his hormone implant has been working great so he has been his happy, active, and fluffy self!
This year, two of our new bunnies had their spay surgeries and both went well! Jessica even had a bit of a surprise for our vet as she actually had internal male parts instead of female. Our vet was very confused when he couldn't find what he was looking for originally. She's a very special bunny! After the spay, some of Wednesday's territorial behavior significantly decreased. Getting bunnies spayed is important for their health as it eliminates their risk for uterine or ovarian cancer.
Jasmine (Chinese Water Dragon) and Domino (Green Cheek Conure) have continued laying eggs this year. Our leopard gecko, Cici, has stopper laying eggs. In her older age, she seems to be slowing down and has been struggling with a cyst on her eye which we have been monitoring with our veterinarian. She is currently being retired from animal shows as our younger leopard gecko, Fiona, takes her place.
Our Partnership with Pets on Wheels Maryland
This fall, the owner of Ferrets and Friends met with the Executive Director of Pets on Wheels. Pets on Wheels is a nonprofit organization that provides pet therapy visits to a variety of settings. After a an wellness check from our veterinarian and a thorough examination from Gina (Executive Director at Pets on Wheels), we are excited to announce that two of our ferrets, two of our parrots, and our panther chameleon have all passed the temperament screening to be therapy animals. We couldn't be more proud of our animal friends! So far, Jubilee has been popular with Hospice of the Chesapeake making her visits to patients in a variety of settings.
New to the Zoo in 2018
This year, we added eight animals to our care. Four of our new additions have been doing a great job as animal ambassadors and we are waiting for the remaining four to finish their quarantine period. We added two ferrets (Aurora & Logan), a Harlequinn Macaw (Jubilee), a Veiled Chameleon (Bruce), a Chinese Water Dragon (Hiccup), a Blue Tongue Skink (Loki), a Colombian Red-tail Boa (Thor), and a baby king snake (name pending). Of these animals, only one had a previous home. Thor is a two year old albino boa constrictor and already measures an impressive five feet in length. We are excited for him to make his official debut next year!
Currently, Ferrets and Friends has 45 animals in our care. Of those animals, about 40 animals are being used in shows at the time of writing. Next year, we hope to start offering packages with some Equine friends. Rebecca, our animal educator, has been hard at work rehabilitating two ponies and training them to interact with people. They have made great improvements this past summer in riding lesson and camps. We hope to feature them in some new packages for 2019.
World of Pet Expo January 25-27
Have you been waiting for an opportunity to see our animal friends in person? Check us out at the World of Pet Expo on January 25th-27th. It is located at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, MD. There will be lots of vendors and performances. For more information, visit www.worldofpets.org. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you in 2019!
2017: A Year in Review
It has been a busy year for Ferrets and Friends, LLC! We have had significant growth, performing twice as many shows in 2017 as 2016. We have also seen some growth in the diversity and number of animal friends! This year, we debuted two new species (the chinchilla and the Sonoran Desert Millipede) and we added three new species that we are hoping to debut next year (the African pygmy hedgehog, the Mexican red knee tarantula, and the African bullfrog). It has been an exciting time for our animal educators to learn and work with these new animal friends.
Unfortunately, this year we also had some significant losses. In 2017, we said goodbye to Gambit (ferret), Sophie (ferret), Honey (Palomino Blonde Tarantula), Capheus (Jackson Chameleon), and Paisley (South American Horned Frog). Our ferrets, Gambit and Sophie, have been with Ferrets and Friends since the beginning. We lost Sophie in early 2017 due to Ferret-FIP and we lost Gambit in the fall of 2017 after medications for his insulinoma were no longer effective. Both were about six years old at their time of death. Ages are unknown for Honey (tarantula), Capheus (chameleon), and Paisley (frog), but it is believed that Honey and Capheus passed away from old age. Paisley (frog) passed away due to unknown causes and was less than one year old at her time of death.
Our Friends' Health in 2017
At Ferrets and Friends, we value taking care of our animals in both illness and health. We are grateful for their hard work and cooperation. This year, we had some significant surgeries. Samson (ferret, five years old) had a surgery to amputate one of his toes and Ramona (ferret, four years old) had a surgery to remove bladder stones. Due to the increasing health problems that ferrets experience as they age, we have decided to start a retirement process for our ferrets beginning at age five. Currently, Samson will be semi-retired, but he is still showing interest in going to events. After all, snuggling is Samson's favorite activity!
Other health updates include egg laying by our Leopard Gecko (Cici), Chinese Water Dragon (Jasmine), and Green Cheek Conure (Domino). It is important to make sure that any egg-laying animals have lots of exercise for strong muscles and calcium to replace what is lost when they are laying eggs. None of our animal friends showed any signs of egg binding and they continue to be active and healthy.
So how much does it cost to keep our animals healthy and happy? In 2017, our animals cost over $9,000 in veterinary bills alone! Other animal care costs (including food, substrate, toys, heat and lighting equipment, and enclosures) totaled over $10,000. This does not include the human labor that goes into maintaining enclosures, socializing, and training our animal friends.
New to the Zoo in 2017
This year, we added a whopping 23 new animal friends to our care with Miss Lina joining our team with her own animal crew. Of those twenty-three animals, nine of them were rehomed animals or rescues. Sixteen animals were acquired as potential animal ambassadors. Some of these animals have already started doing shows in 2017: Tarzan & Jane (Leopard Tortoises), Riley, Pabu, & Abu (ferrets), Bumi (chinchilla), Tucker (Kenyan Sand Boa), and the Sonoran Desert Millipedes.
Currently, Ferrets and Friends has 58 animals in our care. Not all of these animals are used for shows (currently about 35 are show ready at the time of writing). It's not uncommon for people to inquire whether we are accepting exotic pets that are being re-homed. In fact, over a quarter of our animals have previously had other homes before they arrived in our care. This is why we encourage people to thoroughly research any exotic pet that they may want. These animals are dependent on us to provide for their care and many can have demanding care requirements.
Most of our animals that are used in shows, we have raised from a young age. Shows can be stressful environments for these animals so we want to be sure that they are well socialized and they have temperaments that are appropriate for working around children. Rehomed and rescued animals can make great animal ambassadors, too! Each animal friends is unique.
Here's to an even better 2018! Happy New Year from your favorite animal friends!
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!