The Dick Nutt Memorial Trophy
by Dr Jeff Lewis
June and I were very honoured and very moved to receive the Dick Nutt Memorial Trophy at the Christmas Show for contribution to Ferret Welfare. We would like to thank you all for thinking of us. Dick must have had a good laugh at seeing even June stuck for words!
The prize money will also come in useful, as it will enable us to pay for the castration of two and a half hobs. Of course, we will put forward the balance to get three hobs done (or we could just rename the unfortunate one Adolf (sick!).
That's not all we came away from the show with. Sheila Crompton had picked up a starving albino jill a few weeks earlier, had fed it up but, as she had nowhere to keep it, handed it over to us for rehoming. This little lady had been so hungry that she had been seen chasing a fox away from its food.
That feisty little jill is a bit of a biter (although she is calming down a bit now) and we felt the best thing to do with her was to integrate her into one of our groups. We chose our most recent rescued kit group which already has several misfits in it We decided to give her a pet name of D'Arcy, because she bustles about when she moves (full apologies to D'Arcy Bustle of the Royal Ballet) However, given her recent behaviour and her temperament, her full name is the Right Horrible Lady D'Arcy Fox-Boulter. She has fitted in well and put on rather a lot of weight.
Her group also includes our one-eyed polecat jill Nell (short for Nelson) who we once again entered as disabled personality at the Christmas Show and pleased us by taking the first prize for the second year running. We decided not to enter our polecat jill, Morgana , because despite having been certified dead and come back to life, she is now so healthy that no one would believe she had been disabled - although one can't be more disabled than dead.
Also in the group is a so-called jill from hell called Lucy (short for Lucretia). She was given that name because she came to us as a right little Borgia. The first thing she did on meeting me was to sink her teeth, through to the bone, in one of my fingers. She has calmed down a lot now, is very loveable and is one of our best looking ferrets - good enough to come second as prettiest jill at the Christmas Show.
Then there is Cubby, (short for Cubbington the place in Warwickshire where he was found). He had been feral for at least six weeks and was living in a woman's shed. She had been feeding him daily but was terrified of him although she did take the trouble to go out and buy a book on ferrets by Sheila Crompton (whoever she might be!), just so that she could feed him properly.
He was so tame that at one point when he came out to be fed he had put his front feet on the woman's leg asking to be picked up. When we collected him he was in perfect condition, other than for a few fleas, and when June picked him up it was obvious that he had missed his cuddles. The woman was somewhat surprised to see how affectionate he was and regretted the fact that she had not picked him up and petted him herself.
He took second place in the rescued ferret category at the Christmas Show, which is as much credit to Mrs Grantham of Cubbington as it is to us. He should have been entered for a class called the 'highest bopper' because, boy, can he bounce.
There are two others in the group. A sandy jill called Lily (short for Lilibet) who we couldn't enter in the show because we wanted some of the judges to survive, at least until the prize giving, and a sandy hob called Comfrey (short for nothing except brains) who also came in as a biter and who is now as soft and quiet as you could wish for. Lily was one of the most horrific starvation cases anyone could imagine, her litter sister didn't make it.
All are characters, and all have a tragic tale to tell. We do what we can when we can. Again, we thank everyone for our award, but June & I would also like to salute those unsung heroes of ferret rescue, the people who are prepared to take on a rescue ferret and finish the job that we can only start by giving the time and love it takes to restore an animal's affection and trust.