Life Lessons in Strange Places


Ask anyone who knows me what my interests are and they’ll mention three things: ferrets, running, and music.   I am often asked about my tattoo.  It shows a small ferret, holding a little ball of energy, and two ferret outlines jumping over his head.   I got this tattoo after the deaths of two of my beloved furchildren.  It is a memorial for the love of all ferrets- and their inevietable cross to Rainbow Bridge.

My world with ferrets started with my original “Terrible Trio”- Merlynn, Jester, and Zahn.  All three have since crossed to Rainbow Bridge.  But, those lovely ladies taught me lessons needed for ferrets and lessons needed for life. 

 As I fell more in love with my little furchildren, I started joining groups on the internet.  I found other hoomans who shared my passion for the fourfooted little tricksters.  I also learned there is an entire language devoted to ferranting.  Anyone reading this note will have to have a basic understanding of ferret language.  Jill= female ferret who can breed.  Sprite= a spayed female .  Hob= breeding male, Gib= neutered male.  That’s the easy stuff.  A “weasel war dance,” far from an indication of anger, is actually a playful bouce and often performed so enthusiastically, the ferret will bounce off a wall or over the side of a bed.  Dooking is a happy ferret chuckle.  Hissing is a sound made by  an annoyed ferret communicating displeasure.  Often heard when you clean their ears or take away a hard earned peience of contraband (after all, if you didn’t want the ferret to have it, you wouldn’t have left it in your zipped running bag).   Ferrants are ferret parents- get it?  Hoomans are those weird bipedal beings, of which your ferrants belong, who provide toys, food, playtime, and games such as “ambush.”  Ambush is best played after the hooman gets out of the shower… jump on his/ her feet and lick. 

Rainbow Bridge: This is the place a ferret who dies goes to wait for their ferrant.  The Bridge is a place of peace, happiness, and health.  The little ones wait- and watch over us.  Sometimes, they come to visit and play small tricks.  Either that, or I’m always losing my car cars on my own.  Nope, has to be the ferrets.   You can read about Rainbow Bridge here: http://www.petloss.com/poems/maingrp/rainbowb.htm

Those are just some of the terms encountered in the world of ferreantry.

 Patience.  Oh, this has to be one of the main lessons you learn.   If my dog or cat did half the things a ferret does….  Of course, ferrets have their secret weapon: terminal cute.  They look at you with an innocent, adorable expression.  “Who me?  That was fun.”  Or they weasel war dance, resulting in a totally involuntary smile from their ferrant.   Ferrets are gifted at getting into things.   And they love to steal and stash.  I recently cleaned out a ferret stash.  I found: three running socks (of course my expensive Wright socks), stuffed toys, ferret kibble, a USB cord, and a $5 bill.  I figure the culprit is Koda.  He has learned to unzip my running bag.  Seriously. 

Koda Bear Gets His Treats

Dedication:  just watch a ferret who wants something.  In my old apartment, Merlynn decided she wanted to get into a closet that was a ferret free zone.  Of course, if they’re not allowed some place, it must contain something wonderful.  First she tried to nudge the door open with her nose.  When that didn’t work, she went flat ferret.  I could see her studying the door.  She then stuck her paw under the door and tried to pull out.   She wasn’t strong enough.  Again, flat ferret.  Eventually, she figured it out.  But pushing her nose  against the crack between the two parts of the clost doors, and placing a paw under a door ad pulling, she could open it.   I have also been fascinated by just how stubborn a ferret can be.  Lady Tosca recently stole one of my stuffed animals and was trying to hide it under a chair in my living room.  It didn’t fit.  But, stiill, she tugged and pulled for several minutues, then hissed.  She then hid the toy behind the tv. 

 Laughter:  Watch two ferrets wrestle or play with a ferret for five minutes.  You’ll laugh.  Sometimes, it’s even funny when they are doing something like stealing your cell phone for the 5th time.  Just how did they figure out how to get up on your counter?  Simple: first, open the cabinent.  Then use the drawers as a aldder to climb up.  Then you lay on your back, and use your paws in a running motion to open the drawer.  Then, climb from the drawer unto the counter top.  Tosca learned this trick and taught Koda.    You can’t be sad with a ferret in the house. 

Lady Tosca on the Counter

 Love:  Total, unconditional love.  The little furchild loves you.  He depends on you for everything.  They’re affectionate in a different way from cats and dogs but they still will show their love. 

 Ferrets are very intelligent animals.  They never stop learning and never stop playing. 

 Many people will read this post and think I’m nuts for loving ferrets.  Some will read the post and think a ferret sounds interesting but they’re glad not to have one.  Some till read this post, laugh, and think “yep, that’s a ferret.”  You find, as your passion for ferrets grow, there are two types of people you’ll meet: those who “get it” and those who will just never understand. 

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