In my house, we have come to a compromise. Many compromises, in fact, but this one says no more than three ferrets. I love our three ferrets - Bandit, Lilo, and Stitch. Lilo and Stitch were adopted from WFRS, but that's a story for another day.
I've been volunteering at the shelter since summer, and enjoying it immensely. I figure if I can't take all the ferrets home with me, at least I can care for them and play with them! As Christmas came closer, the idea of the ferrets spending the holidays alone in the shelter was getting to me, so as a special treat, we decided as a family to bring a group of ferrets home for the holidays. We knew that we couldn't keep them long-term, but at least we could give them a good holiday.
I talked it over with Cara, and she said that she had a group of three older ferrets that were having a very hard time adjusting after being surrendered. (It is not uncommon for older ferrets to go into "shelter shock" when they lose their humans.)
So, we took in Laura, Sammy and Wilma (who turned out to be a Will!). The three were quite depressed, and ate up the attention we gave them, but it wasn't enough. They weren't eating well, and stomach problems soon followed. I learned a great deal about caring for sick ferrets, and Cara and Megan were wonderful and patient putting up with all of my questions, and teaching me as we went.
Laura, in particular was a big concern, at 1 1/2 pounds, she just didn't have any reserves to draw on. I ended up feeding them a "duck soup" mixture of baby food, kibble, and broth blended to a milkshake consistency. They were also on a couple of other medicines to calm their tummies. Let me tell you, ferrets do NOT like Pepto Bismol!! It's a good thing that I look good covered in pink splatters!
This was a very intense time, but the rewards as they started coming around were enormous! It was so great to see them get to feeling better. I danced around the house when they each started eating on their own! The next stage was getting to see their personalities come out when they felt good enough to start playing! Laura adopted a little plush toy and drug it all over with her. Will would play rough like a big tough guy, and then curl up on my chest to sleep, melting my heart. Sammy just wanted to cuddle with everyone.
Finally, it was time to give them back. That was also very hard, but made much easier knowing that they were all healthy, and were going to another volunteer's house.
The best part of all was finding that they all have forever-homes with loving parents now. I feel very happy and proud knowing that they are still around partly because of me. I still keep pictures of my "foster kids", and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.