Current Shelter Population: 102
Fostering Impacts Lives at the GCFA Shelter
If you look at the adoptable ferrets on our website, you may notice that some of our ferrets are hitting their one year anniversary of being relinquished to the GCFA. They have been brought in for numerous reasons: “allergies,” “going away to school,” “having a baby,” “I just can’t take care of them anymore.” When ferrets come in with certain characteristics, they tend to have an extended stay at the GCFA shelter. Aside from a ferret that doesn’t get along with others or is a biter, the biggest reason they aren’t adopted quickly relates to a ferret’s health. For those of us that have spent years loving and taking care of ferrets, we know that with the good times also come the bad. The myriad of diseases that affect these special little fuzzies is heartbreaking. For many ferrets, this is where fostering comes in.
It doesn’t take much to be a foster parent. All you need is heart and some experience in taking care of a ferret with health problems. Fostering ferrets through the GCFA entails taking on a ferret that has a known medical condition: typically insulinoma and/or adrenal disease. You will not be on your own as you care for a foster ferret. You would be working with GCFA managers and our connection to medical staff. The beautiful fosters at the shelter range in age from 2 to 7 years old. They come in assorted colors, sizes, wellness, and energy levels. Their conditions range from minor to more advanced; extreme old age, insulinoma, adrenal disease, liver disease, etc. Not all ferrets require daily medicine or specialized care.
Taking home a foster ferret doesn’t mean you are taking home a ferret that is ready to die.
Most of our fosters are bundles of energy waiting for a chance to play with each other and especially you. Unfortunately, they have an issue that needs some extra attention. Many fosterable ferrets are overlooked at the shelter because people are afraid to open up their hearts to a ferret that they do not know how long they will have in their lives. Once you see past the fear, you can see just how much love those ferrets can offer.
One of the amazing people that does this on a consistent basis is one of our volunteers, Heidi Sliwinski. Heidi and her husband Tom are two of our most frequent fosterers. I asked Heidi how she does it year after year and this is what she had to say:I have had more [foster ferrets] than I can count over the years. We have 6 fosters at home right now, in three separate play groups. Oz is by himself because he prefers that. He has adrenal disease and insulinoma. We fostered him 3 ½ years ago, and he is now over 7 years old. He has the energy of a youngster and is naked. Yuppy was originally from a group of three, and he is now 6 ½ years old with insulinoma. We have had him for 2 years. His friend is Tootsie who is 4 years old, has adrenal disease and has been with us for a year. Sponge is 8 years old and came into the shelter in pain with a broken leg that was never taken care of and didn’t heal properly. He drags it behind him but is able to get around. He is on a high dose of 5mg/ml prednisone for insulinoma and has an enlarged spleen. His best friend is Bella, who is a tiny white girl about 6 ½ years old. She has adrenal disease and adores him. You will always find the two of them together. We have had them for a few months. Last but not least is Suzy who is the tiniest ferret we have ever had. She is 6 years old and anemic. She doesn’t do much of anything anymore but is such a cutie.I can’t imagine my life without fostering. I feel so good being able to give the ones in most need a happy, safe environment to be in. None of them deserve to be in a shelter. They need love and exercise. It makes a huge difference in how long they will live and how well they stay. I have brought fosters home thinking they would die soon and a year later they are doing better than ever. I have also brought ferrets home and they have died in 24 hours, days, or weeks later. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me; I am well aware of what will happen when I take home a really sick ferret. The good part of that is: they did not die at the shelter. They died in a loving home, sometimes in my arms, and I’m always glad I had the chance to love them. Not everyone can do or say that. Like any ferret, their time in our lives is always too short. I want to give them a chance. Don’t they deserve that? I’ve never regretted any of them.
If you are interested in joining our foster program, you can find the requirements on our website, or you can call the shelter at 708-442-8650 and ask to speak to a manager.
We hope to see you at the shelter!
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Monthly Shelter Expenses
..all prices are approximate..