CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Dook In Peace: Farewell to ferret who walked the streets of Camden Town

Unusual pet would lead to double takes from passers-by

02 November, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Matthew Hawkins with Dini

“DOOK in peace” messages have gone to a popular ferret who turned heads in Camden Town while out for a walk on its lead after it passed away last week.

Matthew Hawkins, who lives in Camden Street, had trained Dini – named after the escapologist Houdini – to respond to simple commands and to stop biting people. Mr Hawkins, 30, and his unusual pet would often be seen around Camden Town, Regent’s Park and Somers Town, sometimes drawing double-takes from passers-by more used to dog walkers.

“I really love Camden. I love liveliness, and I’m a bit alternative myself, so it’s good for me,” said the qualified floor-layer. “I love the Lock, and Dini loved it too. He definitely had become part of my life.”

He added: “Everyone in Camden would ask me: ‘Should I get one?’ and I would say ‘no’, because it’s quite a commitment – you need to be compassionate. “hey make great pets, very intelligent and you can get real companionship. With a lot of training he stopped trying to bite. They are predators, so they do want to eat things.”

Dini had been suffering with digestive system problems, and a vet said last week it would be kinder to put him to sleep.

Mr Hawkins said: “Unfortunately, a lot of people get ferrets and then they think they are too aggressive and abandon them. When I first brought him into Camden he escaped. It was the first big ferret event in the area. I got to know my neighbours by asking them to help me find him.”

He added: “But you can teach them. Never scold. If you lift and hold them at the back of a neck each time they try to bite, eventually they get bored, and realise they shouldn’t be doing that. He also became very responsive to the word ‘no’. I didn’t train him to do tricks.”

“Dook in peace” – a popular phrase among ferret owners – relates to the practice of “dooking”, when a ferret rolls over and “scoots backwards” making a noise. Mr Hawkins said: “It’s a kind of wiggling backwards. It’s very funny. I did not know but when a ferret dies it is common in the ferret community to say

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