I had a ferret named Druid. He was not in my life long. But, he made an impact. The poor little guy had no idea how to play when I got him. He was dreadfully underweight and had a very dry coat. He was with me about a year when he had tumor that was inoperable and I had the vet help him to Rainbow Bridge. He did learn how to play: although I never saw him Weasel War Dance.
The Dance: A Story from Rainbow Bridge
“Hey! Watch out!” The shout echoed in the quiet dawn. The ferrets paused, mid dance, and looked up, puzzled by the interruption. Standing in the midst of the group was a newcomer. “Dook!” the ferrets chattered excitedly. The new ferret looked rather confused and sad. Who are all these ferrets, he wondered. What am I doing here?
He woke up that morning in his hammock. Like any other day, he went to his litter box to relieve the gnawing pressure in his bladder. Then, it was breakfast and some fresh water. Druid hadn’t been feeling very well for awhile. His stomach often hurt him after he ate, he was losing his handsome fur, and he felt tired all the time. But, he was happy. Druid had ferret friends here and his human loved and cared for them well. There was always food and water and a warm place to sleep. And nightly kisses and cuddles. If only he didn’t feel so sick all the time.
The vet gently took him out of the carrier. He gently stroked his fur and spoke softly. Druid winced. It hurt when the vet pressed on his stomach. The vet gave him a shot and handed him to his mommy. He fell asleep to her soft touch and voice. When he woke up, he felt like a new ferret. His fur was thick and soft and his bladder and belly no longer hurt. He felt young! But, he was alone in this strange place.
Suddenly, he heard a familiar voice, “Druid! You’re here!” A vibrant young female bounced up to him. Her sable fur glowed in the soft morning light. Her eyes were bright in her dark ebony mask. “Jester? But… you were so old.”
“Not anymore,” she chortled, “None of us are old or sick anymore. Not here.”
Druid studied the crowd of ferrets. There were ferrets of all different colors. Here was a panda, standing next to a dark black mitt with a light brown mask. Several albino ferrets blinked their ruby eyes at him. Sable ferrets, chocolate ferrets- ferrets with dark masks, light masks, and no masks. Skinny ferrets and ferrets with thicker builds. None of the ferrets looked old or in pain. They all seemed happy and peaceful. “Where is this place?”
“Rainbow Bridge,” the ferrets responded. Druid looked around. He noticed soft, green grass on gently rolling hills. The hills were spotted with tunnel entrances and toys were scattered everywhere. A rainbow lit the blue sky. A rainbow in a clear sky- how strange. A bird flew by, singing lustily. The temperature was warm and comfortable. Jester dooked. “Druid, remember mommy telling you the story about the Bridge? We’re here to wait. And to learn. There’s so much more to learn. And so many games to play. And adventures. And dances of joy. There’s things we get to do to help, too. Don’t be sad.”
Jester took his paw and started to introduce him to the other ferrets. The ferrets all dooked a welcome and gently touched noses with him. Oh! The pandemonium! Ferrets started dancing everywhere. Bouncing, rolling, chortling- some ferrets started wrestling and playing chase. Druid watched, uncertain. “Come on, Druid, dance with us!” Jester pounced toward him playfully. “I don’t know how,” Druid said sadly, “I never got to learn.” The ferrets all stopped. Their heads cocked to the side, they studied Druid. His head dropped and his tail dragged the ground behind him. “He doesn’t know how to dance,” the shocked whisper passed from ferret to ferret. “How can that be? All ferrets know how to dance.” Druid started to slink away from the group of joyful ferrets. How hard was his life before his mommy found him. He never did learn to play. He was too sick and old by the time he found a loving forever home. Now, he never will learn. It was too late.
“Druid, wait. ” Three ferrets came after him. The albino female gently licked his face. “I’m Merlynn. This is Zahn,” she said, indicating a black mitt with a pretty white chest. “And you already know Jester. We’ll teach you to dance. You’re a ferret. You know how. You just forgot during your earth life.” The other ferrets dooked excitedly. “Yes! Yes! We’ll help. We’ll all teach you.” Druid was overwhelmed by the ferrets’ excitement and energy. “And when you finish learning how to dance, I’ll teach ya to be a pirate. I bet you never learned how to steal and stash. It’s great fun,” a handsome sable named Pokey promised. Keh-keh smiled. “Every ferret here will help you learn. And you’ll be dooking before you know it.” Keh-keh had noticed the new comer didn’t dook, even when he was excited.
“Watch me!” The ferrets all cried. They started bouncing and dancing, showing Druid all of their best moves. “Just do this.” And so began Druid’s first war dancing lesson.
Druid stood with his eyes tightly closed, feeling the tension in his muscles. He wanted so much to get it right- to dance like the other ferrets. He jumped up, remembering seeing the others bouncing. Tentatively, he tried to force his body to dance. It felt so awkward. He stopped and opened his eyes. The other ferrets were watching him, smiling gently. “Not quite, Druid.” “ You’re trying too hard.” The ferrets patiently encouraged him.
Druid tried again. He rocked back and forth and jumped and rolled. But, it didn’t feel right. Everything was stiff. It was like he was pretending to be something he wasn’t. The ferrets all shook their heads. No, that still isn’t right. And again, he tried. This time, he tripped on his front paws and landed on his face. The ferrets all laughed. They weren’t trying to be mean, but no ferret can resist a good dook when something funny happens. Life is meant to be happy. “I’ll never get it!” Druid cried. Merlynn stopped him with a gentle paw. “Maybe we’re not teaching it right.”
“The dance,” said Merlynn, “is called many things. Some call it the War Dance, some call it the Dance of Joy. What it’s called isn’t important. What matters is what it is. It is the outer reflection of your inner ferret. The joyful, boundless energy of life itself. The sense of play. Your higher right. It’s your connection to the One who made us all- the reflection of love. It’s not a matter of learning how. It’s a matter of being. Just being.”
“How do I be?” Druid asked. The ferrets all dooked good-naturedly. “Druid, you are” replied Zahn. “Close your eyes and do what feels right.”
Druid squeezed his eyes shut. He was so afraid to try and fail again. He felt a ferret stand next to him, softly licking his neck. “Druid. Just be. Feel your inner love.” The voice was so soft and compelling. He suddenly knew. He felt a joy grow from within and burst out of his body. He jumped! He rolled! He weaved! He Danced! Oh, what a Dance! His eyes flew open and he saw the others, dancing along side. Druid had connected with his inner self, his higher ferret, the One. His joy was indescribable.