Since today (Feb 20) is Love Your Pet Day, I thought I’d revisit a childhood memory that caused some jaws to drop in the “Friend” office recently.
Some of you may remember Malcolm Welshman’s article about the joys of keeping a ferret as a pet. It was featured in our magazine back in 2018.
At the time, a few people of the team 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.
They lived in hutches behind the garage and took frequent walks on a harness and lead. They also enjoyed supervised play sessions in an enclosed part of the garden.
In time they did what ferrets do, and reproduced. 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. He 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.
Click here to take a look at our Facebook page, where we’re celebrating Love Your Pet Day by encouraging our readers to share pictures of their furry friends!