Although a ferret features prominently in my book, I had yet to meet one in the fur so I was excited to be heading off to Wood Green, The Animals Charity near Cambridge for a ferrety photofest. Of course ferrets do have a certain reputation for biting and as we approached the shelter I conjured up an unwelcome image of a TV presenter from my youth screwing up his face in agony as his hand is prised from a ferret’s locked jaws. Hopefully the Wood Green ferrets would be better behaved.
I was greeted by Katja who is Wood Green’s Business Development Officer, by Tara from PR and by Marie who is an expert in field and small animals. Marie introduced me to two different ferrets: Albie (pure white), and Frank (yellowy-brown). Both were very cute, in a lively, slinky, fast and furry kind of way! Like dogs, ferrets enjoy going for walks, so we harnessed them up and went to take the pictures. I must say Albie and Frank were very obliging throughout the rather windswept photoshoot and didn’t bite once!
After photos it was time for a tour. The shelter is one of the largest in Europe, covering 52 acres, and providing a home for pigs, ducks, goats and alpacas, as well as the more usual rabbits, cats and dogs. In addition to rescue, Wood Green also do lots of work educating the public on animal welfare, including showcasing how animals should be kept. Rabbits, for example, need much larger enclosures than most people are aware of. In fact, according to Katja, rabbits are probably the most abused of all British pets due to poor housing and neglect.
At the dog enclosure, it was time to get a few lumps in the throat, as the dogs came rushing up to the bars wagging their tails. Dogs are so desperate for human contact that it’s especially heartbreaking to see them in kennels. Wood Green have just opened new state-of-the art enclosures to house the dogs, though, which will be a lot more homely.
Katja then had to go for a meeting so we didn’t have time to see the cats. In hindsight this was probably a good thing as I have an especially soft spot for kitties. It meant I was able to leave with my dignity and mascara largely intact!
We will be making a donation to Wood Green for every copy of Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets that’s sold. I am so pleased to be helping this excellent charity, even in a small way. They really are a worthwhile cause and the staff are so committed to making things better for animals. You can find out more about them and the great work they do at www.woodgreen.org.uk