About Us

Oxford Ferret Rescue Officers:

Claudia Johnson – President and Director
Dee Bickling – Secretary and Treasurer

Claudia Johnson is from Pittsburgh, PA and attended school in West Virginia and later Athens, Georgia. She now lives in Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania, in Southern York County, where she has quite a menagerie of critters (mostly rescues) including sheep, goats, chickens, a dog and cats.



In 1998, she decided she would like to get a ferret and decided to adopt one instead of buying from a pet store. While working for a veterinarian one day a week, a client mentioned that her 16 year old son no longer wanted his ferret. That was all she needed to hear. Claudia didn’t ask what color, sex, age or even if it had all its body parts. She just knew she wanted that ferret. This first ferret, Zeke, changed her life forever. Although he went to the bridge in March 2003, he is in her thoughts daily.

When she went from working full time to part time in February of 1999, she became a volunteer for the Oxford Ferret Rescue in Oxford, PA. Although it was never her intention, she ended up taking over shelter operations. In November 1999, her family moved 1 mile into Maryland, but kept the original shelter name.

When there were ten ferrets running around her home, she thought that was plenty. Currently the number hovers around 70-75 ferrets. There are many permanent residents since it’s hard to place geriatric ferrets, especially those needing surgery or who are on daily medicine. Claudia has herself adopted several ferrets that have been surrendered to the shelter in order to give them an official forever home. Samantha Jane (named after the previous shelter owner), was found in a dumpster in November of 1999. She was skin and bones and filthy. She turned out just great, and since she was Claudia’s first abuse case, she knew she had to keep her. She has been told that you can’t do surgery on everything that comes in, and to keep your rescues different in your heart than your own ferrets. To Claudia, those words sounded like rational advice and she agreed, until the ferrets were with her long-term and she grew to love each and every one of them the same. Because she gets so many geriatric ferrets that are in need of surgery, her vet bill has ballooned to over $2500 quickly.The shelter is a 501(c)3 organization and runs many fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for the care of the animals at the shelter.

On the days that she works, she rises five hours before leaving for her job. There are separate playgroups that have to be let out for exercise and playtime, and many elderly ferrets need to be hand-fed and given medication. Afterwards, she goes to the barn to care for the other animals, and then gets ready for work. The same care is necessary in the evening also. Somehow Claudia manages to carry a full time job at the Chadwell Animal Hospital in Abingdon, Maryland. This is the vet that is used for the rescue animals and it works well for the ciritters if they need to be seen on a day that Claudia needs to be at work. The animals are able to go with her. That has been a lifesaver for some of the very sick animals that need round the clock attention. Chadwell is a wonderful practice for all animals and anyone near the Abingdon area should consider using them. Claudia is very thankful for all they have done for her and the shelter babies.