Sunday, March 8, 2015

When bad things happen to good people.

Fire Drops Financial Burden On Texas Ferret Lover’s Rescue

The Texas Ferret Lover’s Rescue shelter operator is striving to rebuild a rental property to regain the loss of income after fire at a rental property.

Marylou Zarbock
Posted: February 19, 2015, 7:05 p.m. EST

fire-gutted den
© Courtesy Millie Sanders 
This was a den. The house suffered major damage in the fire, but fortunately no people or animals were hurt.

Many ferret shelters operate on a tight budget, and the Texas Ferret Lover’s Rescue is no exception. Millie Sanders runs the rescue out of her home, and you can imagine her shock when a fire last week destroyed a large portion of a home she rents out. The funds from that property help fund her own house, so the loss of this rental property income now threatens the existence of the ferret shelter.
The fire occurred on Valentine’s Day. The couple who lived at the home with their pets weren’t injured, but the damage to the house is considerable. Sanders, who was a claims adjuster before she retired, estimates it will take $55,000 to get the property back into shape for renting — and that’s with herself and friends doing some of the work. She had no insurance on the house, so she must raise the funds for all repairs.
Sanders started the Texas Ferret Lover’s Rescue about 20 years ago. Although she runs it, she says there are volunteers who help with the website, screen applicants and sometimes help clean. The rescue has helped thousands of ferrets since it started. Currently, 42 ferrets call it home, with six more on the way. Sanders said she now tries to keep the population under 50 ferrets, although it has been higher in the past.
"We were involved in a couple of seizures,” Sanders said, referring to two cases that made national news a few years ago. Authorities shut down large-scale facilities that bred exotic pets and needed help relocating the animals. "At that time I had 80+ in the regular shelter.”
ferret photo collage
© Courtesy Millie Sanders These are just a few of the thousands of ferrets the Texas Ferret Lover's Rescue has saved.
In addition to the ferrets who live with Sanders at the rescue, the organization also has more than 60 ferrets in foster care. She said the veterinary bill for the shelter averages $1,100 to $1,400 per month.
Sanders considers this fire and the loss of income it caused to be the biggest challenge she has faced with the shelter. Someone who heard about the fire told her about the GoFundMe website. On February 16, Sanders set up a page at the crowdfunding site, explaining the situation and setting a fundraising goal of $55,000.
"I can’t tell you how much I hate to ask others to take care of what should be my responsibility,” Sanders said, "but I really don’t know where to turn from here, I really don’t.”
And that is the title of her GoFundMe page, "I Don’t Know Which Way To Turn!” After three days, it is just short of reaching $1,000 — so there is quite a way to go before the goal of $55,000.
What does Sanders hope to accomplish with the funds to restore the rental property in Pleasant Grove, Texas, near Dallas?
"I am looking at 100 percent of the sheetrock being torn out, complete rewiring, A/C and heating systems torn out, whole side of the back of the house to be rebuilt,” Sanders said, "and I can’t tell that much on rafters and such, but it’s a given decking was chopped into by the fire department and the whole thing would have to be reroofed. A lot of the windows are blown out or blackened to where they couldn’t be cleaned. If I can get the funds to restore it to again get the financial support we need, I would not replace the whole house, the add-on would be made into a carport to save money and, of course, a lot will depend on what the city codes will make me do. Lots of permits and inspections to be done. And the haul off of that that stuff — I think the renters will abandon much of their furniture and leave it for me to clean up.”
hole in kitchen ceiling
© Courtesy Millie Sanders Some repairs will require professionals to fix; others, Sanders hopes she or friends can tackle.
And, as mentioned, Sanders hopes she or friends can do tasks that don’t require professionals.
"We might try to sheetrock ourselves but I doubt we can do that much,” she said, "but we sure can tape and bed and paint and lay down vinyl tile and clean and stuff.” 
Any action at the property is at a standstill at the moment as Sanders waits for the renters, who were there for 23 years, to vacate the premises. Meanwhile, she is taking time out from shelter duties to arrange for the upcoming demolition and repair.
"I am doing without income and having to scrape together what I can to get things started,” she said.
Insurance would have made things a bit easier, but Sanders said she had trouble getting insurance for the house because it was a rental, it was a frame house instead of brick and its location was not in the best part of town.
"After I let it go for awhile — I let a lot of personal stuff go taking care of the animals, seems their stuff is always the priority. Then they wanted it brought up to code. It’s an older house, at least from the 1940s, but it is sturdy not falling down or anything — or wasn’t.”


  1. I have modified my March budget in order to help a bit with this. If enough ferret people kick in , the rescue can be saved. This kind of thing is why I believe life is random, and you just have to do the best you can do when bad things come down the pike.

  2. Hey Harry,


    I will see what I can do too for that ferret rescue.

    On a sidenote. I just found out that the ZQ ammo from Turkey in 5.56 mm has steel cores and sells at wallmart for ten bucks a box of rounds if I heard right.

    I got a friend who bought 30 boxes last night.

    I thought I would get the word out to others that are searching high and low for green tip to check this out.

    1. I ment to write a box of thirty rounds for ten bucks.

      That's what I was told, so check it out yourselves.


    2. CC, I never worry a hell of a lot about money. We have enough to live comfortably. It's only when something like this happens, that I wish I was rich and could just solve problems of this nature with a stroke of my pen. But I think we all do what we can and usually things work out.

      I haven't seen any Turkish 5.56, but I have seen 7.62X51 in the ZQ brand. Our Walmart carries Federal, Wolf, Winchester, and a few other common brands of 5.56 but the last time I was there, all of it was gone.

    3. Hey Harry,


      I feel the same way. 'Wish I was rich so I could do more.

      My thing is rescuing dogs. I have three rescues now.

      One thing I have been considering is starting a surfing clinic for disabled veterans. I am tired of hearing about all the veteran suicides. Most of which are from PTSD.
      One thing about surfing. I find that I focus so much on paddling into a wave, catching it and trying to menuver that I forget about everything else.
      I already had two veteran friends in the past years that I had to talk out of suicide. One was last summer. He was drunk on the beach (just finished off a bottle of Captain Morgans Rum) and was going to blow his head off.
      I talked him out of doing it over the phone and through a series of phone calls arranged another veteran to go pick him up that had four wheel drive (neither of my trucks have four wheel drive)

      My friend parked his four wheel drive in a very remote beach area before he started in on the Rum so there was no way I would have made it out there to rescue him.
      On a sidenote, instead of getting the damn VA or other authorities involved all it takes is a friend (and fellow veteran) to point out what he needed to live for.
      The shrinks will only dope veterans up and make the problems worse.

      Now my friend (who was going to blow his head off) has another job, another truck and an entirely new outlook on life. This guy also may have another job lined up making $90.000 a year so that will help him to feel productive and needed back in the real world.

      I will ponder the idea some more on setting up some kind of surfing thing for veterans.

    4. I think everybody does what they can for an issue that has personal meaning to them. I wouldn't rely on the VA to put itself out if it was on fire. My experience with them is that they are career bureaucrats with zero concern about anything other than doing as little as possible. Maybe there are some good people in it, in fact I am sure there are, but the organization as a whole is useless, or worse than useless.

    5. captain - i looooove the idea of starting a surfing clinic for disabled veterans. here in canada we are experiencing a horrible upsurge on veteran suicides and i wish there was something i could do. i wish you all the best on setting up a surfing clinic...have you thought about doing a "gofundme" type crowd sourcing project? much love always, buddy!

      your friend,

  3. Harry - we just sent a small donation. i really hope that she reaches her goal! thanks for sharing! much love!

    your friends,
    kymber and jam

    1. Kymber, that was nice of you. Every little bit helps. I have a separate account for our emergency fund that I put money into each month. This month, I just diverted that line item. I have a lot of respect for the people who run rescues, since they usually are middle class people who give up vacations and other "nice to haves' in order to save ferrets who are dumped off by the people who should be caring for them. I have helped a little over the years with providing homes for ferrets who were in need, but I never did a fraction of what this one woman has done.

  4. I wish them luck. I wish I had money to donate. Prays will do for now.

    1. Rob, none of us can do as much as we wish we could. Who knows but that prayer may help more than a few dollars. Clearly the ferrets never did anything to God, if he exists, so maybe he will help them out. I don't know but I hope so.

  5. Oh no! Save the Ferrets! That's pretty scary.


  6. Harry FlashmanMarch 9, 2015 at 1:00 AM
    Alissa ,it's very sad. The lady that runs the shelter is very old and not wealthy. If she goes under financially where will the ferrets live? Where will the old Lady live if she loses her home. I have to wonder why something like this happens unless I am right and there is no reason in the universe, only random chance. I hope I'm wrong though.

  7. Life just isn't fair, is it. Like Rob, prayer is about all I can offer at the moment.

    1. I think that the ferret rescue will survive. It's one of the best known in Texas and ferret people, diverse a group as they are, tend to take action when the furries are threatened. As I told Rob, I'm by no means certain prayer isn't the best contribution to the rescue that many of us could make. Remember that General Patton once decorated a chaplain whom he believed was "in good with the Lord."

  8. Harry,

    This is sad, sending prayers, and I will see what we can do to help, it may not be much but we will see what we can do.

    1. Sandy, it's very sad but I believe that it will work out in the end. It would be a shame to see a ferret rescue which has done so much good over the years go under. But Elvis hasn't left the building yet.