Smelling Salts Anyone?

Dr June McNicholas

I was honoured to be asked to judge the Danish Ferret Show during the weekend of 21-23 January 2011. As ever, judging was hectic and hard work, but the excellent arrangements by the show organisers made it an enjoyable experience for me and my cojudge, Fran George.

After judging we were able to meet and speak to the numerous exhibitors. It was then we came across a remarkable story.

Amongst the exhibitors was a lady in a wheelchair. We later found out that some weeks previously she had been in an car accident at a time when there had been much snow and ice on the Danish roads. At the time of her accident she had been transporting a ferret for a friend. However, during her journey she skidded on the ice, the car left the road and turned over several times before it came to rest in a field. She was trapped between the front seats, with various injuries to her legs: the temperature was well below zero.

In the meantime, the ferret passenger had escaped from his cage. Now you may think that a ferret would simply make a bid for freedom and head for the hills. No, in this case the ferret sought out the driver and snuggled down on her chest, licking her neck and face. Paramedics say that the warmth of the ferret and his licking of her face helped keep her conscious at a time when a lapse into unconsciousness could have meant severe, even fatal, results from hypothermia in such sub-zero temperatures.

I would also add that since the ferret in question was a very virile, entire hob, maybe his personal odour acted as a kind of smelling salts! After all who can sleep through a full-blown hob?! Whatever, this ferret is acknowledged to have helped save a person’s life.

A remarkable story by anyone’s account.

(First published in NFWS News - #89 Janauary 2011)