Meet the all action ferret that has hiked, camped, kayaked – and even skied – his way through eight US states.
Lauren Smith, 29, spends her days traveling around the southwest of the United States with two-year-old ferret Jesse James in her Coachmen Catalina RV.
The pair have hiked in national parks, explored huge canyons and kayaked across monumental lakes in eight US states – Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Idaho.
Lauren had previously owned a ferret called Oliver, who also joined her on adventures.
After he passed in June 2020, she began looking for another pet who could travel with her.
She found baby Jesse at a local pet store and took him home – naming him after the infamous American outlaw due to ferrets’ notoriously mischievous nature.
Lauren, from Aurora, Colorado, began harness training Jesse at five-month-old and getting him used to spending time outside, which he immediately loved.
She said: “He instantly liked being outside. He would run to the door and request to go outside or load himself into the travel cage to let me know he was ready for an adventure.
“He hops around and rolls happily through the grass when we’re out on our adventures.
“We go hiking about once or twice per week on the weekends.
“He will hike two-three miles with me then when he gets tired he plops himself down to let me know he’s done. Then I pick him up and let him ride in my backpack.”
Lauren is currently training to become a physician’s assistant so she studies full-time whilst traveling and looking after Jesse, but she described that balancing it all is far easier than people think.
She said: “Camping with a ferret isn’t much different than with a dog. I take his travel cage with me but he is only in it when we are driving, so I can leave it in the car.
“The only change is I pack extra food and water for him, as well as some extra blankets. I also pack puppy pads so he can use a corner of the tent to go to the bathroom at night.
“I can still do all the fun stuff like climbing mountains, exploring canyons, and even skiing – I just do it with Jesse in tow.”
Lauren shares her adventures with Jesse on the social media apps TikTok and Instagram, posting stunning pictures and videos of their travels across the USA.
She hopes to continue traveling with her best bud for as long as possible and that her content inspires people to travel with their own pets too.