Dear Friends of Ferrets Unlimited Rescue Services:
As 2009 draws to a close and FURS approaches its first official anniversary on January 1, 2010, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and reflect briefly upon our first year. And, what an incredible year it has been!
On January 1 of this year, after receiving our 501(c)(3) qualification letter in November of 2008, we began formally operating as a foster-home-based ferret rescue organization. As you can imagine, there were a lot of details and logistics to be worked out, and the better part of our first year has been spent working on this. We're still learning, but we're getting there.
We were prepared for a lot of what we encountered along the way, but certainly not everything!
While in the middle of getting our act together, we were confronted with what every animal rescue organization dreads and hopes never occurs: a multiple-animal rescue. Fortunately, it wasn't huge – 14 ferrets – but the ferrets (and we!) didn't make that distinction, and it still put incredible demands on our volunteer Board – and especially our Intake Coordinator, Crystal Walko (special kudos to Crystal – she is awesome!) -- to get these ferrets removed, cared for, and situated. Because we're still a very young organization and haven't gotten our volunteer resources in line, we had to scramble. But, we did the best we could, and the ferrets that were taken from this home made it to a safe haven.
On the heels of the above rescue, we had a near miss with a reported hoarder situation (even more ferrets!) in Alliance, Ohio! We worked closely with the Stark County Humane Society and the animal control folks in the City of Alliance to determine whether intervention was needed. We're still not entirely convinced it wasn't, but these two organizations stepped in, investigated, and reported back to us that the situation was under control. In this instance, we needed to rely on their information, and we hope/trust that the ferrets involved are okay.
Our foster home network is evolving and growing, which will enable us to serve more of (and hopefully all) surrendered and abandoned ferrets that come to us. We have maintained very positive relationships with the humane societies, animal control departments, and charitable organizations (such as Morphicon, which continues to support us as their official charity) that Jean Caputo-Lee had established under Ferrets Unlimited Ferret Shelter (FUFS) and have made new personal and organizational friends of our own! We traveled to the annual Heart of Ohio Ferret Association's Ferret Buckeye Bash, and several of us represented FURS at Morphicon 2009 in Columbus. We have received some great recognition for our work, including the wonderful article by Karen Uthe Semancik that ran in November 29's Elyria Chronicle Telegram.
We were incredibly pleased with the number of ferrets we were able to place into foster and forever homes during our first year. The individuals and families who have taken in these ferrets are wonderful, and we couldn't be more pleased with the great folks who have stepped up to welcome our kids into their homes, hearts, and lives. Currently, we have about 33 kids in our care!
Here are our numbers for 2009:
17 special needs (age, chronic illness, and/or behavioral challenges)
Sadly, we had our share of losses, as well - kids that were older and/or ill, and some real heartbreakers that were seemingly neither, but who either made it to us too late or encountered unexpected health conditions that they just couldn't overcome, despite our best efforts and those of our wonderful vet, Dr. Frank Krupka from Avon Lake Animal Clinic. Several of us have confided to one another the deep sense of sadness we feel when one of our kids passes away while in foster care, to the effect that they never got to their forever homes. But, upon reflection, I don't believe that these ferrets ever made that distinction. It doesn't matter to a ferret whose love they receive, and the words permanent and foster are meaningless to them. Ferrets give love unconditionally to whomever will love them back, and - amazingly - even appear to forgive those who don't (how's that for incredible?), because that is their nature.
We should take a lesson from these infinitely-wise companion animals during this holiday season and throughout the years to come.
See the enclosed sheet for some special stories we want to share with you. When we become frustrated (as we sometimes do) and reflect upon why we do what we do, ferrets like those you will read about provide all the reasons we need to keep on keeping on. Our work is often fun and rewarding, but it's also incredibly challenging and sometimes downright exhausting, both physically and emotionally. We can't do what we do without wonderful people like you backing us up. We hope that as we grow and mature as an organization, you will help us by volunteering your time and talents and becoming an active part of what we do. The larger and more effective our network, the more ferrets we can help.
Fundraising is a challenging, but very necessary (you very quickly become a realist when you are a non-profit!), element of continuing our work, and charitable organizations everywhere are being tested in these difficult economic times. As is to be expected, the bulk of our expenses are veterinary in nature. With your continued help and support, we have every confidence in our ability to continue to rescue, rehabilitate, and place the kids that come to us into loving, caring, and truly forever homes.
So, on behalf of FURS, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your support and encouragement. The FURS Board, volunteers, and fur kids wish you a holiday season filled with joy, hope, love, health, good cheer - and ferrets!
Deb Daugherty Benson
Ferrets Unlimited Rescue Services
We are in the process of updating our contact lists so that we can keep everyone advised of events, activities, and items of interest.
Please let us know how we can contact you! Obviously, email is a fast and economical way to do this, so be sure to include your email address.
Ferrets Unlimited Rescue Services needs your help to continue our mission of rescuing, rehabilitating, and placing companion ferrets into loving homes!
As we move into our second year of service, we need to expand our efforts so that any ferret in need of help will not be turned away.
There are all kinds of ways you can volunteer, and we don’t know half of them! We want you to tell us what you can and are willing to do. People who are willing to do what they love and are good at make the best volunteers!
Earlier this year, as word of our new organization was circulating, we received a number of offers from people who wanted to help at the shelter, caring for the ferrets. Unfortunately, since we don’t have a physical shelter location, this wasn’t possible. But not having a dedicated location doesn’t mean that we don’t need help!
The volunteer form we have provided is our best effort at trying to identify volunteer talents and areas of interest. Please let us know if you’d like to help by completing and returning this form. Or, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell us. We’ll do our best to accommodate!
Congratulations to Dave and Sam Rossow for submitting the winning photo in FURS' ferret foto contest! Their photo of Kodiak was the top popular vote-getter at the December 6 FURS First Anniversary Celebration and Open House.
Kodiak (aka Kodi) came to Dave and Sam from Ferrets Unlimited Ferret Shelter (FUFS) and was one of Jean Caputo Lee’s final adoptions from her shelter. Kodiak was a kit when he was rescued from the 2007 DMK rescue in central Ohio and was, as Dave puts it, “a little on the rough side” when they brought him home. After lots of patience and handling, those days are now over.
Here, Kodiak poses on a wood log in the Rossows’ back yard. He isn’t the easiest ferret to photograph, according to Dave and Sam (that would be his brother, Bear). But, when they can get him to pose, he steals the show.
Kodi's top honor earned him a featured appearance on the FURS website, so that everyone can see and celebrate his good looks and winning personality.
Please help Ferrets Unlimited Rescue Services try again to win a $20,000 grant!
Please vote for us at www.theanimalrescuesite.com and we could win $20,000 to help pets in need.
They are hosting a special challenge for eligible Petfinder.com member shelter and rescue groups. The grand prize is a $20,000 grant, and they will be awarding many other grants to rescue groups with the most votes — a total of $100,000 in grants for animal welfare organizations.
Think how many ferrets we could help for $20,000!
Help us win! All you have to do is click to help rescued animals, and then vote in The Animal Rescue Site $100,000 Shelter+ Challenge. Both of these actions are absolutely free! You can vote once a day, every day, until December 20, 2009. Every time you vote, or tell a friend to vote, you are making a huge difference for us.
Our veterinary bills are quite large and this an easy to help us, without spending a dime!
Just visit the Shelter+ Challenge page and enter Ferrets Unlimited Rescue Services in the purple box under Search and Vote for a Shelter, and select OH as the state and click the Search button...
Then you will see Ferrets Unlimited Rescue Services and a button to Vote for us. You may vote once a day (every day)!
P.S. Board members and volunteers are allowed and encouraged to vote too!
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!
Please help support the ferrets in our care! We are a 501(c)(3) charity and can accept your tax-deductible donations online via PayPal. It's quick and easy and you can make a donation of any amount with your credit card, check card, or personal check! Every dollar helps a ferret in need!