Faster than a ferret

Brenda Taylor, owner of Franklin Township’s Five Points Ferret Refuge, hosts the Ferret 500 to raise funds for the shelter

By Erica Faunce

Brenda Taylor holds Ziggy the ferret.

Out of her home on Five Points Road, Brenda Taylor and her volunteers care for dozens of ferrets that have been given up by their former caretakers. Daily responsibilities include cleaning cages, doing laundry, and distributing food, water, and medicine. Playtime is the most exciting part of the day, because once the ferrets are let out of their cages, they run, hop, climb, and wrestle to their fluffy, little hearts’ content.

“They’re little troublemakers,” Taylor said, “so you have to be a hop ahead.”

Besides caring for the ferrets’ physical needs, running a non-profit 501(c)3 also involves a good amount of grunt-work. Vaccination records must be kept up to date, trips to the vet must be taken, and funds must be raised to keep the shelter going.

Minnie explores her surroundings.

That’s where the Ferret 500 comes in, their biggest fundraiser of the year. The Ferret 500 will take place on June 3 at the Marion County Fairgrounds with an admission/donation of $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 7 – $15. For the sixth year running, the event will involve a championship ferret show, complete with judges and awards. Spectator events also include ferret races, a costume contest, and a paper bag escape.

In addition, the Ferret 500 also hosts a raffle table, vendors, and education programs. Five Points Ferret Refuge is adamant that ferret-owners know how to care for their pets properly. When a ferret is adopted from the shelter, the owner is given a book on ferret care.

“It’s a constant frustration to me,” Taylor said, “that the pet stores don’t make any effort, in most cases, to educate people.”

The event benefits the shelter not only by raising funds, but also by attracting new volunteers and prospective owners. This is especially important now, because the shelter is nearly over-capacity. Their goal is to keep around 30 ferrets at a time, but they currently have almost twice that amount in their care.

However, Taylor says that the work is well worth the effort. “If you get them in sick, and you’re able to help them get well, or if you have somebody that comes in that’s a bad biter, and you’re able to get them turned around. Those are the things that are the up-side of it.”

William Childs, who has volunteered at the shelter for over a year, agreed. “A lot of times, they come in from a bad situation, and then two months later, they’re ready for adoption. It’s a rags to riches story.”

Aside from the satisfaction of seeing ferrets find a new home, Taylor says her favorite part is just holding them. “Because, oh, they’re so sweet!”

For more information, visit theferret500.com.