“There are pictures, there are stories,” Houseman said of the Facebook page. “It just kept growing. And with Barney’s story getting out, it’s even bigger, which I love.”
The Houseman ferrets — a combination of family pets and rescued fosters, including Clarice, Bear, Sampson, Oscar, Apollo, Daphne, Bolt and more — have it good. Their home includes a ferret play area built by Jamie Houseman, a “work in progress” composed of plastic tubing, hammocks, ladders, a small ball pit and a pasta bin for digging. Plastic tubing winds its way along the floor for exploring (or sleeping). For the most part, they have full run of the house.
“Being so social, they’re not meant to stay in cages every day,” Houseman said. “They need a minimum of four to five hours of interaction with other ferrets and especially with their humans. They are just bundles of energy.
“They’re not like a dog or cat, where they can be left on their own a lot. They do required constant socialization.”
Erin Helms of North Tonawanda, who is also involved with Ferretpallozza, was put in touch with Houseman through a friend who runs a ferret shelter in Pennsylvania. She currently has four ferrets — Sanka, Pivot, Tater Tot and Sookie — and will be soon taking on two rescues from a shelter.
It all started with Sanka, now 81/2, who was acquired after Helms’ husband wanted a ferret and they researched them as pets.
“They’re hilarious. They really are, when they start war-dancing and playing and dooking,” she said, referring to the noise happy ferrets make. “You come home from a really bad day at work and you start playing with them and it just makes everything better. They’re an outstanding pet.”
For Lee Rose Wilson, of the City of Tonawanda, it all started about 12 years ago, when someone dumped a ferret dropped off in a child’s backpack on the steps of her friend’s apartment building. With the bag and ferret was a note written by a child: “My name is Cheerios. I’m very good. Can you take care of me?”