Remember that urban legend where someone adopts a stray dog in a foreign country, only to discover that it’s actually a giant sewer rat? Yeah, that never happened. But if recent stories on the internet are to be believed, something very much like it did.
As reported by the Daily Mail and other sources, a man bought what he thought were two purebred toy poodles from Argentina’s largest outdoor market. However, when he took the animals in for their vaccinations, he got a nasty surprise. The vet informed him that his new pets were actually ferrets – or, as Argentinians like to call them, Brazilian rats.
(For the record, ferrets are not rodents – that’s a common misconception that is repeated in some articles covering this story. They’re actually members of the weasel family.)
How could anyone be so gullible as to mistake a ferret for a toy poodle? Apparently the ferrets were given steroids to bulk up, and a poofy poodle ‘do to complete the effect. According to the Buenos Aires news crew that broke the story, the scam artist’s work was good enough to fool at least one other person, a woman who thought she was getting a Chihuahua.
Of course, dog breeding scams are nothing new. In the U.S., a lot of shady backyard breeders misrepresent the puppies they’re selling – trying to pass off a standard dog for a highly prized (and expensive) teacup dog, for example. But it takes some real cajones to juice up a ferret and sell it as a poodle. In fact, if we didn’t have total faith in the Argentinian media and all the internet sites that covered this as a novelty story, we might actually question whether all the details are completely 100% accurate.
Assuming the details are as reported, there is a silver lining here for the people who were duped. They may not have gotten the puppies they wanted, but ferrets make great pets in their own right – just as long as you don’t expect them to win any prizes at Westminster.