ROGER the ferret has been reunited with his overjoyed owners – after escaping and checking in to a five-star hotel for VIP treatment.
Roger had been given up for dead when he slipped his harness during a riverside walk and went on the run for two-and-a-half weeks.
But his luck was in when he stumbled across the luxurious Rockliffe Hall Hotel, near Darlington – and interrupted a staff Teams meeting.
Badly malnourished after his ordeal in the wild, the affectionate pet was treated as a ‘furry important guest’ as staff nursed him back to health.
The drama began when Roger’s owners took him and three fellow ferrets –Sandy, Phoebe, and Stinky Pete – for a walk at nearby Croft-on-Tees.
Six-year-old Oliver Roberts had Roger on a lead but when his dad, Anthony, looked down, the harness was empty, and the naughty ferret was nowhere to be seen.
“We were out searching for four days and nights, but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack, and we’d given up hope,” said Anthony.
However, Roger eventually made his way to Rockliffe Hall, a mile away, and was discovered in the grounds by head concierge Anton Coburn, who realised he was tame.
Roger was taken inside the hotel, where he was introduced to shocked hotel staff while they were taking part in a Teams call.
He was then handed over to head of gardening, Phil Mennell, to be pampered while an appeal was made on social media to trace his owners.
“He was in quite a bad way – very thin and weak – so we made sure he had the full VIP treatment,” said Phil.
“He had a bit of a wound, so we gave him some beauty treatment, and he liked rolling over on his back for a spot of massage. It was like being in the spa!”
Roger was given a cosy, straw-filled bed in a shed in the hotel grounds, and staff fed him the finest freshly-cooked chicken, washed down with bottled spa water, to build up his strength.
After a two-night luxury stay, the appeal led to an emotional reunion with the Roberts family, from Darlington.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got the call to say a ferret had been found at the hotel,” said Anthony. “I knew straight away it was Roger because I kiss my ferrets on the lips and he kissed me back. If it had been the wrong ferret, it would have taken a bite out of my lip!”
Roger is now back home with Oliver and four-year-old brother Harry, who have three more ferrets – called Frank, Snowy and Dave.
“It’s nice to have him home because we missed him,” said Oliver.
The family’s menagerie also includes three dogs, a chameleon, two hamsters, and a parrot, as well as geese, ducks, quails, and pigeons on their allotment.