Not Exactly Lassie
Published: April 24th, 2008
By: Shelly Reuben

Not exactly Lassie

I got an interesting letter from my brother the other day. It started, “Everybody loves pet stories, and since very few sane people own ferrets ...”

His good-hearted intention was to motivate me to write about Barnaby, my allegedly aforementioned heretofore alluded to pet of the ferret persuasion. There was also – we’re talking about a brother here – the implication that Big Sis might be hovering on the wrong side of the “very few sane people” dividing line.

Nevertheless, his wish was my command. And so I begin today by asking the question: Is it sane to own a ferret? And if it is not, are there any circumstances in which it might be? Let’s start with the basics.

What are ferrets? The scientific name of the domestic ferret (my kind) is Mustela furo. It is a descendant of the European polecat. It is also member of the weasel family; however, I choose to ignore that, because it is more illustrious to have a polecat as an ancestor than a weasel.

Anyway, who would want to kiss a weasel?

Ferrets, like designer fabrics, come in a variety of colors and patterns. Most have caramel colored fur with dark masks around their eyes like Zorro. Angora ferrets, sturdy little fellows, have long hair and resemble the lint that one takes out of the dryer after washing a favorite sweater.


The Evening Sun

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