Angela’s Ferreted Away Childhood Memory


Angela is reminded of some very special childhood pets on looking over a future issue of the “Friend”.

Recently, the “Friend” team were looking through the proofs for the issue that is out on sale now, dated June 2. When we got to the Pets & Vets page, where Malcolm Welshman enthuses about the joys of keeping a ferret as a pet, a few people shuddered at the thought. But for me, it brought happy memories flooding back.

“I’m pretty sure I’m the only person here who has ever actually kept a ferret as a pet,” I said, “and I can assure you they are neither vicious nor smelly if looked after correctly.”

An almost forgotten memory

Jaws dropped around the office as my colleagues digested this piece of information – a revelation of a hitherto undisclosed part of my past. And to be honest, it was so long ago I had almost forgotten about those intelligent, affectionate creatures who had entwined their lithe and silky selves around my childhood heart.

Let me explain. My dad, at the time, was great friends with a gamekeeper in the Pentland Hills. His two children (both boys) kept ferrets as pets; I never stopped to consider why, in the 1970s, a little girl might not do so, too. Ours was a household filled with animals, and adding ferrets to the mix didn’t faze anyone.

New Family Pets

And so Ginger, Liz, and Jill joined the family, living in hutches behind the garage and enjoying frequent walks on a harness and lead and supervised play sessions in an enclosed part of the garden. In time, they did what ferrets do and reproduced, and I earned some welcome pocket money when it came time to find new homes for the kits. My dad, even years later, loved to tell the story of all the various weathered countrymen who came to buy the young animals and the look on their faces when they realised the vendor was a ten-year-old girl with a ponytail.

I kept one, a magnificent sable hob whom I named Superman, and who was so tame I frequently “wore” him like a scarf.

Sadly, ferrets don’t live very for very long, and one by one they passed away. But recently, on a walk through the Hermitage in Dunkeld, I encountered a girl with a ferret on a lead, and I smiled at the sight.


Karlie Simmonds

Karlie has worked in Digital Media for over 10 years, she is passionate about health and wellbeing and lives in Edinburgh with her partner, children, and Pug, Poppy.