"When properly trained, these little fuzzies make wonderful pets. Their comical antics and inquisitiveness, and 'innocent' little faces, will steal your heart and give you endless hours of entertainment & enjoyment."
– Scarlett Gray-Saling
As anyone that breeds ferrets – and my accountant – can attest to, you sure don't make the big bucks. You do it for the love of the ferrets! As of 2012 I'm retired – after working for the State of the Ohio for 33 years – so most of my time is consumed by ferrets now!
My First Ferrets
My "addiction" started in 1992 with my first two ferrets, Mishka and Sly. Their owner was moving to California and they couldn't go. It was love at first sight. When I put them down to meet my poor blind cat, Mish immediately jumped her and there I was with a rolling mass of fur."OMG!" I thought, "I'm going to get bitten by the ferret." I reached in to break it up, and my 15-year-old CAT bit me! Mish just looked at me with this puzzled look saying, "What the heck's her problem … I was just playing!" That year I also got DaBear and Bandit (doesn't everyone have a ferret named Bandit?). By the end of the year I was up to three (sadly, I lost Sly to Adrenal in Nov). Then in the Spring of 1993, Bandit had my first litter. I ended 1994 at least still in single digits. But in 1995 – thanks to the addition of Kodiak, Nicci, and kits – I broke through the double digit barrier. In the following years my numbers expanded to 100+ at their high. But now I have less than 60 breeding ferrets, with plans for fewer in the future.
My Show Wins
In 1996 I started showing, and I'm proud to say my "fur kids" have done very well. Many of my hobs and jills have won Best of Show and Best Opposite through the years. Many are Gold Level AFA Championship, as well, and several others are soon to become. My kids have placed consistently in championship shows. Most notable is SHD's Gizborne's Zen, who got the very first AFA Ferret of the Year before categories were split into Breeder/Adolocent/Alter/Companion. I've also bred five ferrets that received AFA Breeder, Alter, or Adolescent Ferret of the Year awards, and nine that received AFA's Specialty Ferret of the Year awards. Other ferrets I've bred, who are owned by others, have received many awards as well. See our Awards page for photos!
In 1997, I founded Heart of Ohio Ferret Association and Rescue (HOFA Rescue) and was President 1997-2001 and 2014-present. In the beginning, I ran the shelter out of my home. In 2005, we initiated HOFA Rescue Net, which was a foster parent network program. Rescues no longer had to deal with a shelter environment, but instead came into a one-on-one foster family situation. To fund the shelter, HOFA colaborated with another shelter for the first Columbus ferret show – the Columbus Ferret Extravaganza 1999 and 2000. I was show co-coordinator for both shows. Then in 2001, we parted ways with the other shelter and became the Ferret Buckeye Bash, for which I'm show Coordinator. The Ferret Buckeye Bash has became the largest ferret show in the USA, with over 30 vendors, an awesome raffle, 60+ exhibitors, and attendees from all over the country.
In addition to being a breeder for almost 30 years, I'm a licensed American Ferret Association member with over 20 years of experience. I've traveled to Japan 13 times to judge at the Japanese Ferret Association's shows, and also to Russia once to judge at the 2013 Yekaterinburg Ferret Show.