• Michelle Brunton

The real truth about running a ferret rescue

Updated: Nov 26, 2018

Little Paws Ferret Rescue was formed after another rescue closed its doors after 15 years of hard work. The supporters were devastated when it closed as a rescue and became a Trust to look after the remaining ferrets that were deemed unrehomable. After mourning the loss of this wonderful organisation a few of the supporters gathered together to discuss the future.

There is such a great need for rescue and rehoming of our favorite little fuzz butts so we decided to set up a new rescue called Little Paws Ferret Rescue which will be a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

Little Paws Ferret Rescue will offer rescue and rehoming of stray and abandoned ferrets, concentrating in the locality of Sunderland and South Tyneside (although we will rehome outside of that area there seem to be more than enough waifs and strays in these areas to keep us busy).

We will will organise shows, events and fundraising activities to raise the required funds to allow us to rescue and rehome.

We will share our journey with you all each step of the way and look forward to some exciting times to come. Please help us to create an amazing ferret community and keep up the valued support xx

1st April 2018

Little Paws Ferret Rescue had its first meeting on 9th April (in the pub!!) We decided on the name and agreed to look at the different structures. eventually we decided on a Charitably incorporated organisation. Things were really starting to happen and we were all excited to begin the journey.

We had our first rescues in already as Michelle (the founder and manager) had been rescuing on her own for a few months before. We had Negan who was a very difficult ferret and had issues with biting. The phone had started to ring as word is getting out and the rescues are starting to come our way.

We are desperate to have some building work done to section off an area of Michelle's garden and make it ferret proof. The rescue will operate from an outbuilding attached to Michelle's house which has its own entrance and will be perfect for the rescue work.

15th April 2018

We had a great meeting over messenger as Michelle was stuck in the house nursing a sick ferret. (Teddy was more than happy to participate and suggested that it was of greatest importance that the ferrets have their own fridge for fresh meat in the rescue room and possibly a sauna and Jacuzzi for pampering poorly ferrets!!)

It was agreed that Michelle would get the paperwork together for the next meeting to set up the CIO. We now have four dedicated people to become Trustees and one very dedicated volunteer.

ferret Teddy helping to plan the new rescue. he had poorly back legs but mum made him feel better!!
Teddy helping out during the messenger meeting

20th April 2018

Michelle has been very busy designing logo's. We had a few to choose from but the winner was:

The Little Paws Ferret Rescue Logo of two ferrets within a blue heart
Little Paws Ferret Rescue Logo

We have decided to do a little car boot sale to raise funds to get us started. Emma, Rachel, Elissa Michelle and Dawn are all looking for car boot sale items and we will go to the bug car boot sale in Seaham.

25th April 2018

It has been a busy few weeks! We have set up the Just Giving page, collected car booty items, the Facebook page is coming together nicely and we are starting to really take shape. We have some new ferrets in the rescue. Lexa and Buffy were found at Simonside Cemetery and are beauties. Borris has also come from South Shields area and is a lovely quiet boy.

The building work is still a long way off as we need to raise lots of money but the ferrets and their neutering and care comes first otherwise we won't have any ready to rehome.

Rachel transported a gorgeous hob over from Vets 4 Pets in South Shields but he took offence and gave her a little nibble. Poor Rachel!

Beautiful ferret jills Buffy and Lexa have come into the rescue
Buffy and Lexa

1st May 2018

Beautiful Archie and Nicky (Rachel's favorite nibbler) have been running around my kitchen stinking out the place!! they are due to get neutered very soon so they will smell like roses afterwards. for now we have a very orange Archie to deal with!!

We now have 13 likes on the Facebook page so we are all ready to promote and share with friends to get the rescue name out there. We are also getting used to sharing technology and Elissa has set up a shared file. she will have to teach us all how to use everything hahaha.

We also have our first £20 on the Just Giving site!

Archie ferret is entire and a bit hormonal
Archie Ferret

6th May and we are up to £100 on Just Giving. I went away for a week and left the rescue in the capable hands of my son. unfortunately one of my oldie ferrets got very sick and I had to call on the help of the lovely supporters on the North East Ferret Community page. they rallied together and my lovely friend Hannah stepped in to help. she took little Khaleesi for some intensive care. Sadly poor Khaleesi passed away before mammy could come back and say goodbye. RIP baby we love you always :(

Khaleesi Ferret in her prime on one of our group ferret walks to Seaham Beach
Khaleesi Ferret

#beautifulferret #devastatedpetowner #RIP

23rd May and the Just Giving is now at £260!! Wow how generous are our supporters. We will be able to get some neutering and micro chipping done with that!!

Negan is improving immensely. He is now very handleable and actually likes me!! YEA!! I am taking them to be micro chipped at North East Ferret Trust as Gillian has said that she can help out with the micro chipping. It is all go at the rescue and we are really picking up speed. The Charity Registration is in progress and should be submitted any day now.


Wow we have won a little competition that we entered with our local pet supplies company Delton Pets. We won a Cherry Pet Shampoo and a Cherry Disinfectant.

Thanks Deltons x

We have a very productive meeting (at a different pub this time!!) We have planned a date for the car boot sale and we have been looking at rehoming procedures. #thatsteamwork #ferretrescue

30th May 2018

We now have a website. Michelle has created a stunning website that has a home page, about us and an adoptions page.

The facebook is now up to 130 likes and we are really getting the message out there. We have some appointments booked for rehoming soon so we should see our first rescue success story.

Picked up a little jill that we have called Pip Squeak. she is a tiny little poley. The lady that found her was extremely lucky as she had a garden full of pet rabbits!! they were all free running in purpose built outdoor enclosures and the lady went out to feed them when a little head popped out from under the shed!! she is very placid and has settled nicely into her hutch. #littlerascal #cute

little Poley Jill Pip Squeak
Pip Squeak

14th June 2018

Buffy and Lexa have been neutered and are recovering well. Pip Squeak has had her jill jab to take her out of season. Roker Park Vets are our regular vets that we use for neuters and they are very supportive. Vet said that Lexa was very lucky as she had a uterine infection. Caught it in time and should recover fine. Just shows how they don't show any illness as she has been her normal self. #LuckyFerret

17th June 2018

Today we all did a car boot sale to raise funds for Little Paws Ferret Rescue. We have been collecting things to sell and a local charity Animal Crackers donated some items from their shop that were not selling. the supporters were really generous and we had donations of a hutch, DVD players, Play Stations, books and bric a brac. We had a hectic day and were all worn out by the end.

Well done to all as we raised £100 to help us with neutering.


The team working at the Car Boot Sale
Little Paws Team at the Car Boot Sale

On the way home we received a call from a lovely lady who had found a little ferret straying in the Birtley area. I went straight over and collected this stunning little guy who the finder had named Cole. #Beautiful

New resident Cole
Cole Ferret

18th June 2018

We had a visit from some potential rehomers who are interested in rehoming Nicky. The ferrets had a lovely play and bounce and all behaved very well.

Ferrets are really entertaining to watch. They will entertain you endlessly with their antics, bouncing and playing with toys, stealing everything and stashing it behind the cupboards!! They can get all the exercise they need tearing around the kitchen but they also like to go for fun walks with their friends from North East Ferret Community.

Nicky Ferret was reserved today

We have our first rehome tonight Ladies. Boris has gone to his forever home with a lovely couple. This is the best news and a landmark for the rescue. It was almost Negan that was chosen but he was pipped to the post by Boris who charmed his way into their hearts. We wish you look beautiful boy x

#happynewhomeday #positivefutures

Boris is a lucky boy as he goes to his new home today
Boris Ferret

Negan is finally turning a corner. He is actually impressing me and has really settled lately. a bit more work and he may become a big softy. He actually started bouncing and dooking yesterday which he has never done and kept coming up to me and pawing my leg for attention. he may yet become a lover not a biter!!

#cleverboy #nomorebiting #ferretwhisperer

This beautiful boy is turning into a big softy
Negan Ferret - from biter to big softy

1st July 2018

Sadly Nicky's potential home has fallen through as they have not come back for him and are not answering my messages. Oh well, he will soon find the perfect home but until then he is happy here with his pals. He is now living in a group with Negan, Buffy and Lexa and is very happy.

8th June 2018

We have had five whole rabbits donated by a supporter so they will help with feeding this week.

I now have a chip scanner and I have bought the posts for the fencing. I am still looking out for cheap boards. Trying to get materials for free or cheap as I priced up new and it will cost between £350 and £500. We put out a call on the page to get some interest and a few people responded but to date we are no further with the capital build.

The rescue is getting very busy. it is now getting challenging to hold down not one but four jobs, looking after my many pets and also keeping up with the care and running of a growing number of ferrets in our care. hopefully we will raise some funds to do the building work and create a dedicated ferret proof area for the ferrets to live.

Cole and Bear have been to the vets for neuter and are now home safe and sound. Both have been reserved and will be going to their new homes as soon as the hormones have gone down. We took Pip Squeak to see the vets as she has a distended tummy. I was worried about a uterine infection however the vet thinks that it could be something more sinister and she is booked in on Monday for exploratory tests. This could potentially cost some money (which we don't have much of at the minute) and funds are a bit depleted after the £96 cost for today's treatments. I am self funding a lot of this as the neuters are £42 for hobs and £56 for jills so you can imagine that the money doesn't go far. The joys of starting a rescue. Everything else has been planned but sometimes we get sick ferrets and we have a duty of care to get them help.

I put a post on the Little Paws page and North East Ferret Community to ask people to donate towards medical treatment and we received an astounding £150.

7th July 2018

What an Amazing day!!! Negan and his pal Nicky have been adopted. after all the hard work and dedication to make Negan rehomable it has finally happened!! I have sat and cried as I never really thought he would go and I will miss his cheeky little face but I am so happy I could burst!!! They just fell in love with Negan who was bouncing and flouncing and charming their pants off x I just knew that the right human was looking for him. They are experienced and they are fully aware of his history and are committed to giving him a lovely home where he lives indoors and has pals to run about with for 3 to 4 hours per day outside of the cage x I am so pleased for him x Well done boys and we wish you well in your new home with your new family.

Well done son!! I knew we would get you your forever family xx
Negan has a home

Quick update on Pip Squeak, after the xray and ultrasound the vet has found an enlarged liver and spleen which is causing fluid retention. I have made the decision not to take any further invasive treatment as the prognosis is not great. I will message our veterinary ferret expert Catherine to see if she suggests any treatment and she will just live out her remaining time in my sickies group. Total cost for today was £156.74 which we covered through the donations. I am really guttered for her as she is the sweetest little jill and so young, she gives kisses and loves a cuddle. she is a beautiful little thing.

Pip enjoying a cuddle and roll on Emma's knee
Pip Squeak

#comfyferret #feelingdowninthedumps #fingerscrossed

9th July 2018

New inmate Cooper has been collected from South Shields. He was picked up and taken to Vets 4 Pets who then contacted Little Paws Ferret Rescue to see if we could help. He was transported by the lovely Rachel who has kept him overnight and she thinks he may have issues with his sight. poor lad is so tired and just wants a nice place to sleep and some grub.

Here he is testing out Rachel's indoor hutch last night.

Cooper making himself comfortable for the night
Cooper Ferret

What a good looking chap!
Cooper Ferret

#safeandsound #rescuedontbuy

12th July 2018

Elissa just scored us a bunch of black polo-neck t-shirts from her work. They're embroidered with the old company name but that could easily be covered over if we got some embroidered patches with the Little Paws logo on and sew over the top. They will do for now when we go out fundraising until we have money for merchandise?! xxx

14th July 2018

We received a call from a lady who needed help rehoming her ferrets as she is moving to America (lucky lady!!) she had two beautiful boys Jinx and Bob and has also donated her 3 month old large indoor hutch which is huge. we will put it up to sell and the money can help with re-homing.

Beautiful boys Jinx and Bob
Jinx and Bob

We have also taken in these two beautiful kits that had been rescued from an unscrupulous person giving a bunch of kits away for free!! she managed to get 8 of them and has re-homed 6 but these little guy's were still without a home. Meet Hazel and Oak who are around 8 weeks old.

15th July 2018

Today we have booked up to attend the Wolsingham Show in Durham. We are very excited as this is a big show and we should hopefully get some great PR for the rescue.

We also have our membership of National Ferret Welfare Association which will give us some credibility and provide us with insurance.

23rd July 2018

We finally have our bank account sorted and we have received a first response from the Charities Commission. they have a list of 19 questions for us to work through so another meeting is needed. Back to Oak Tree Farm for some grub and a trustee meeting. it seems that the trustees need a meeting without me so that they can discuss the premises an if this is the best option for the rescue.

I have sat and produced policies for the rescue including the rehoming policy and I have created the adoption forms. Busy, Busy, Busy!!!

BT Advert

Rachel, one of our wonderful trustees has put an advert on the intranet at her work. Her employers generously allow charitable work and she can ask for a few days a year to give to charity. Thank you Rachel. We have also had an offer from a local micro-chipper on one of Rachel's dog pages. she will be micro-chipping for us at cost price. I am amazed at how generous and supportive the local community are.

Just picked up this little jill from Felling. she is a tiny little thing and the owner had called her Pippa but as we have Pip Squeak I have renamed her Thin Lizzy. She is a beautiful silver and is around five years old. The owner has only had her for a short while but she is quite a handful and needs to be rehabilitated. As fate would have it the lady also had a hob that she had found and two hob kits. the kits and the jill had come from the lady that surrendered Jinx and Bob and the two kits. it seems that all the kits are litter mates and had come from a man who was giving them away for free on Facebook. Lizzy is quite possibly the mother of all of the kits. Its a small world!!

Lizzy was surrendered to the rescue
Thin Lizzy - New rescue ferret

3rd August 2018

We received some beautiful videos of Negan and Nicky in their new homes that I just have to share with you all. it is wonderful to see them happy and loved in their new family. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did (brings tears to the eyes!!)

10th August 2018

This weekend we had our annual camping trip to Alnwick Rugby Club. This is a historic event that was started by North East Ferret Rescue (now North East Ferret Trust) and we are continuing the tradition. We camped Friday and Saturday nights with a fun ferret show on Saturday. We organised quizzes, fun games and some great company.

The weekend started off hectic with an emergency rescue on the morning. We had to collect the two kits and a hob from Felling. the families new dog had chewed the indoor cage that the hob was in and the owner had put him in the cage with the two kits. This is very bad as an un-neutered hob is very capable of killing kits.

The owner asked for help as the neighbours could hear the kits screaming. We rushed over and collected them and Dawn one of our trustees will be fostering the hob named Dexter. The kits will come with us to Alnwick and we will reunite them with their siblings.

We finally set off for Alnwick and my phone rings. The lady explains that she works in a vets and they have a ferret that was handed in as a stray and they can't rehome him. She explained that she understood if it was too far away but they were a vets based in Alnwick. I say funny enough but I am heading up to Alnwick for the weekend camping with the ferret rescue!! We arranged to collect him on Saturday and he is an absolute love.

Poor Woody needs some fattening up!
Woody - New rescue Ferret

We had a great camping trip. everyone enjoyed some good fun with their ferrets. We had a quiz on the Saturday evening and a fun ferret show during the day.

Supporters of Little Paws Ferret Rescue set up for camping
All set up at Alnwick Camping

Young ferret handlers in the show line up
Young Handlers Line Up

Ferret and child handler
Willow thinks she deserves the medal

Sleepy ferret
It was a very tiring day for Rasmus the ferret.

19th August 2018

Picked up a little stray that had wondered into the back yard of a lovely family in Milfield. Little Albie had had a wonderful adventure and had made himself quite comfortable with the family. Their cat on the other hand was not impressed at all and refused to come home until the invader has been evicted.

Sleepy ferret
Albie had made himself at home with the family

Sleepy ferret on knee
He decided that this was his favorite place in the world

20th August 2018

Archie and Cole have gone off to their new home together with a lovely rescue supporter Sarah Charlton and her partner Mick. they will live together in a large shed and will hopefully merge with another group. Good luck boys xx

Ferrets in a bed
Archie and Cole leave for their new home

29th August 2018

We have had a little tiny hob surrendered as he was a bit too much for his new owner who had very little experience of owning ferrets. He was a little tinker and within five minutes had been nicknamed The Exorcist as he could turn his head 360 degrees and still get your fingers even in a death grip. He joined the kits group and bounced vertically for about an hour before he settled down for a bit of tea. Evil comes in very small packages sometimes!

Little Dobbie the ferret
Meet Dobbie (AKA The Exorcist!)

Poorly thumb

2nd September 2018

This weekend we were at Wolsingham Show in Durham. We were excited to attend this show for the first time and we will have a stall with rescue ferrets kits and the tombola. Michelle and her boys, James and Aidan, stayed overnight, camping in the marquee (now there's dedication!) We had some lovely volunteers helping out Elissa Fletcher and John Simpson, Rachel Thompson and her Mam, Sarah Charlton and Mick came to help with Archie and Cole and we had visits from some other lovely supporters who came to say hi.

Wolsingham Show

Information Boards
Show stands

Wolsingham Show Stall
James manning the stall

crowd scene
Trustee Rachel talking to the public

Show volunteers
Elissa, John and Aidan

Wolsingham Show stall
Tombola on the stall

Wolsingham show stall
Aidan with one of the kits

Wolsingham show stall
A young member of the public enjoying a cuddle

sleepy ferret in lap
Aidan with a sleepy ferret

Sleepy ferret
James with another sleepy ferret

Tent in the marquee
Our bedroom for the night

Boys ready for bed
Sleepy boys ready for bed (if only the pigs in the next tent would be quiet!)

Michelle saying good night
Good Night All x

3rd September 2018

Today Albie went to his new home with an amazing family. they have two children and Albie absolutely loves children. We wish Albie and the Searle family a happy future together x

Sleepy ferret
Albie in his new forever home

Child and ferret
I think he likes his new brother x

Over the last few months we have been collecting donations through Just Giving to help us raise funds to build a fence that will separate the rescue from the main house and garden. This will give a dedicated space for the rescue where volunteers and visitors can come to the rescue independently of my home. We were able to raise £438.55 after the fees were taken off. This will really help us to move forward with the rescue plans.

We also joined the National Ferret Welfare Society as members and this gives us insurance cover and support. Our Charity registration is taking forever. We registered in June and still no further but we will be patient and move ahead full speed.

4th September 2018

Today Elissa and I have been looking for venues for the Autumn / Winter show. We visited Barley Mow Village Hall in Chester Le Street and decided that this was the perfect venue. it has a lovely kitchen and a massive hall. Watch out for more information on the show which will be on 18th November. Here is a photo of the hall.

Barley Mow Village Hall
Show venue Barley Mow Village Hall

We met a lovely lady Margaret who was very welcoming and gave us a full tour of the building. She told us about the history of the hall and that it has just been transferred from the council by asset transfer to the organisation. We were very impressed with the facilities and look forward to an amazing show.

5th September 2018

I have created a beautiful flyer for the show and posted it on the rescue facebook, North East Ferret Community and other local ferret pages. We are really excited now and we hope to attract a good crowd.

Flyer for Ferret Show November 18th at Barley Mow Community Hall
Little Paws Ferret Show Flyer

The hunt is on for sponsors for the event. We will find businesses and individuals to sponsor each class which will cover the rosettes and a little prize. We are also on the lookout for trophies for best in show and reserve best in show. I created a flyer for this too.

Sponsor advert for class sponsorship
Sponsor advert

5th September 2018

Today I picked up Ferne from Cestria Vets in Chester Le Street. She was found in someones garden in Lumley. They took her up to the Forrest a short walk away from their home thinking that is where she belonged and within an hour she was back trying to get in the house! Thankfully they realised that she needed some help and took her to Cestria Vets where they contacted the rescue for help. She is a lovely little jill, full of cuddles and relieved to be safe and sound.

Rescue ferret