So Fast

I took Bobby Ferret to the vet today.  I felt a lump in his abdomen during nail cutting last night. It wasn’t there last week.  Unfortunately, my fear was confirmed.  He has a cancerous tumor in his belly.  Unless the predinsone slows the growth, he will go to the Bridge within a month.  The prednisone might give him two to four months.  It’s moving fast, so the prognosis of the longer time is not good. I opted to provide hospice support rather than more invasive treatments.  He’s an older ferret and surgery or chemo would cause more pain/illness and be no guarantee that the tumor can be removed.

Bobby’s story.  Someone found Bobby in a vacant lot in Spokane.  His right front leg was broken and the left shoulder dislocated.  He received vet care and went up for adoption.  I am the lucky person who became his “mom.”  That was five years ago. 
  

He healed fine and is a wonderful little ferret.  He loves to chase his remote control care, playing with the knit eggies, and cuddling.  He also enjoys his Carnivore Care and stealing the cat food.  He also is a little explorer. Outdoor trips are a blast for him.  So much to sniff and dig in.  He is a survivor.  
Bobby was the name given to him by the rescue.  I kept it.the name matched him and was his “survivor name.” I identify with him.  He went through three sugeries, faced a lot of pain, and survived to be a healthy, happy ferret.  He joined my family a few months after my brain injury.  I survived too.  His life changed because of his injury.  Mine did too.  He didn’t let the injury get in the way of a ferret’s life.  I try to not allow my injury to ruin mine. I try to have a good “ferret life” so to speak. Losing any ferret is rough.  He’s a special one.

  
Last fall

 Watching a ferret sicken and eventually having to make the decision to help him/her to Rainbow Bridge is so difficult and sad.  I hate having to make these decisions.  Yet, I owe it to the furchild to make the best choice for them.  Quality of life over quantity. In the long run, life with ferrets is worth the difficult decisions and the grief losing a ferret brings. 

Five years went by so fast.  I was trusted with a very special ferret and he has brought me comfort, laughter, and now tears.  Five years isn’t enough.  Hell, 20 years would not be enough. 

In the meantime, he is still with me, if only for a short time.  That matters. Even when he goes to Rainbow Bridge, I know our spirits will cross paths again.   Souls don’t die.
  

Cat and Ferrets

Four ferrets helped raised Brigid from about 10 weeks old. The kitten became part of their business (a group of ferrets is a business). She often slept in their hammocks and shared their food. Lady Tosca, Jester, and Koda Bear have gone to Rainbow Bridge.  Kaliyah remains as leader of the ferrets.

Brigid, Bobby, and Kaliyah are all a family but the interactions between adult cat and ferrets are different.

 Brigid and Kaliyah Fall of 2015

Brigid no longer fits in the hammocks but still visits the ferrets in the cage and shares a meal.  They still cuddle in other places.  It’s so cute to hear Brigid purring as she falls asleep next to the ferrets.

The ferrets still act toward her as another member of the business.  They play together although the style of play is a bit different. While all three play chase games, the ferrets also want to play wrestle- much to Brigid’s disdain.  She’s not thrilled to have a ferret pounce on her back in ferret play.

A few days ago, Brigid played chase with Bobby.  I heard Brigid “complaining.” I checked to see what was happening.  Bobby had latched on to Brigid’s lip.  This is a wrestle/ play behavior.  Ferrets often will latch onto each other playing.  I think this was a squabble.  All three of them periodically miss the signal to quit.  It also happens between the ferrets.  All was well.  Brigid’s ego was damaged.  Later that night, Bobby and Brigid shared a treat of Carivore Care.  Their relationship remains intact.

Another time, Brigid came off the loser in a chase game.  Kaliyah dove under the couch.  Brigid face planted into it.  I swear that I heard Kaliyah laughing.

In December, I finished putting up the tree right before the ferrets’ playtime. I have an artificial tree. Kaliyah climbs the tree at least once every year.  This year, Brigid decided to climb it as well.  Kaliyah weighs 1.5 pounds. Brigid weighs 13 pounds.  You guessed it.  The tree fell over.  No injuries to either cat nor ferrets.  Or the tree.  I don’t bother with decorations anymore.

 Bobby and Brigid Fall 2015
Go Seahawks!

No.  I definitely don’t bother with decorations.  There’s no point.

Kaliyah

Kaliyah

They are so different but put the differences aside to be friends and family.  I wish people were more like this.

The little ones give me a smile daily.  They’re always into something. Or planning something.

Find something that makes you laugh.  It helps.

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,” is a ferret’s life.  They haven’t learned the “Mischeif managed” part and probably never will.

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 Koda Bear in 2010.  He was part of the business that raised Brigid.  He went to Rainbow Bridge in 2012.

 

 

Goodnight, Sweet Lady

Today, Lady Tosca, was incredibly difficult. I knew it was approaching in October, when the vet told me you had lymphoma. It is such a fast moving cancer. You no longer enjoyed playing and your spleen was so enlarged that it was hard for you to walk, never mind run and jump, as a ferret does. “The Look” was in your eyes. You were done with the tired, old, sick body. I held you as you drifted into your final sleep at the vet this morning.

It is sad to see your empty cage, where you slept the last few months. It reminds me of your physical absence. In this life, I will never feel your soft fur or smell your cinnamon- musky scent. I won’t have your warm tongue licking my finger as I feed you the soupie you so enjoyed. Not again will I smell your funky breath as you kiss the tip of my nose. In this, physical life, anyway. Your spirit lives on.

You were an adventurous, happy ferret. Over the years, we have camped together, gone on outings to the ocean and parks. I watched you play tag and wrestle with your business of ferrets: Koda, Jester, Taliesin, and Druid. You are with them now.

People were often afraid of you. At first, you bit from fear. You were deaf and it scared you to be picked up suddenly. Then, you had to learn how to play gently with people. We have such thin skins. You grew to trust, and love, and play with the gentlest of nips. I think you made up for not hearing by using other senses. Including taste.

I remember you teaching Koda how to open a backpack. Zippers never stopped you two from raiding fascinating things for your stashes. But why my new running socks? And feminine hygiene items. I need those, you don’t. I would not trade all the laughter and love to avoid the tears of separation.

What must it be like at Rainbow Bridge? You must be having a huge romp, chasing, wrestling, digging, running. What is it like to hear for the first time? To experience the freedom from an old body, filled with illness. You are as you were when you were young: whole and care free. You are with your friends again and meeting Merlynn and Zahn. Ferret party.

Oh, little one, I am sad we are separated on this earth. But, I am happy you are healthy again. I hold you in my heart but release your spirit to fly free.
We will meet again at Rainbow Bridge.

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A Sad Day

The infection was too much for Koda Bear. He crossed to Rainbow Bridge tonight. I’ll miss him. He was a special little ferret. That last week has been difficult. I saw his health failing, no matter what the vet and I did. In a sense, I enjoyed the time I spent hand feeding him at night. The house was quite and it was me and a warm, furry, little boy.

Koda was always my greedy little one. He loved food. Koda went to great lengths in order to get treats or steal food he wasn’t supposed to have. He learned how to open zippers. Several times, I found Cliff Bars with ferret teeth markings and a chunk or two missing. I’d backtrack the crumbs to my gym bag. And I had a missing bar. Koda learned how to roll over, stand a beg, and turn a circle. He would do these tricks for anyone who would give him a treat. The only times he argued with Tosca is when he tried to steal her NBone. He’d run off and hide his, then find Tosca and attempt to steal hers.

He loved to play in the tubes and wrestle with his ferret buddies. He enjoyed stealing and stashing things, especially balls. He scooched them across the room.

Koda was affectionate. He gave kisses on command and would sometimes agree to nap on my chest.

He was not in any pain. His body just couldn’t beat the infection and pancreatitis. He gave his all.

Dance on at Rainbow Bridge Koda! Be happy and healthy! We’ll see each other again.

Connections

Nap time

Ferrets pack so much joy, energy, and love into their days. They are truly a gift to have in the home. Sadly, their lifespans are short. They burn brightly and burn out rapidly, as a small shooting star.

Over the years, five of my ferrets have gone to Rainbow Bridge. There is something special about the elder ferrets. They may not have the same energy for adventure but they find more peaceful pursuits. I formed a special bond with my furkids as they aged. They cuddled more and I could see peace and happiness in their eyes. I provided end of life care. Often, this required hand feeding and medications. They paid me back with love, often grooming me or cuddling for a nap.

Koda had a reaction to his adrenal surgery. The vet thinks he developed pancreatitis. He lost almost a pound in four days, due to serious diarrhea. He was rehydrated at the vet’s office. Unfortunately, there isn’t a treatment for ferrets. We have to wait and hope his pancreas heals. In the meantime, I provide supportive treatments. Koda is handfed a special, high calorie, high protein, “soup” and his hydration monitored. He eats well and drinks. He sleeps inbetween feedings.

Today, his eyes look brighter. He is more interested in his surroundings. But, the diarrhea continues.

I’ll be much happier when his leavings return to normal.

I am honored to have been sent ferrets to care for in this life. Their bright little souls are a gift to everyone around them.

Memories

For Taliesin

(April 2005- October 14, 2011)

 

                                                                                                                                          A Young Taliesin

Taliesin lost his battle with adrenal tumors and lymphoma late Thursday night.   I first saw Taliesin in a pet store in Maryland.  He was a tiny little fluff ball.  I fell in love with him immediately.  When he came home, he had barely started eating dry food.  I supplemented his diet with a special soft food diet.   Taliesin was a Welsh bard.  My little man was named after him for two reasons.  When he first came home, he cried whenever I put him down.  He was quiet only when I held him.   I carried him with me everywhere for the first few days.  He slept with a stuffed ferret, as my crew at the time was not ready to adopt a small boy.  Eventually, Zahn accepted him and slept with him in the travel cage.  Jester thought he was a fantastic toy and kept trying to “stash” him.  Merlynn initially decided he was an interloper.  When he was older, Merlynn embraced him as part of her business.   The name Taliesin refers to a bright mark on the head.  When Taliesin was a kit, he had a small, white patch of fur on his forehead.  He sang and had the white mark.

Taliesin was a well- travelled ferret.  He, Jester, and Merlynn rode across country with me when I returned to Washington State.    Tallyman loved to explore during stops.  Throughout his life, he had many outdoor experiences. He particularly enjoyed camping.  He loved to dig in the mud, dirt, leaves, or sand.   He wasn’t much on walking.  He preferred to ride in the ferret-pack.   His favorite place to visit was the ocean.

Taliesin on a fall outing 2009

If Taliesin were human, he would have been a food critic.  He knew what he liked and would not bother with food that did not meet his standards.  He was actually rather finicky.   When he liked the food, he ate with gusto.  It made for some challenging times when I needed to change his diet.  Interestingly, he was raised the same way as my others; eating several different kinds of food.

I have so many memories of Taliesin.   We had a game he played with me.  Taliesin war-danced towards me.   He’d dook and bounce and leap!!   I caught him in mid-air, picked him up, gave him kisses, then put him on the ground, rolled him over and tickled his tummy. He ran away, then returned.  We’d play another round.  Holidays with him was amusing.  He loved the Christmas tree.   I could not keep him from trying to climb to the top.  He also enjoyed “helping” me wrap presents, assisted by his fur-siblings.   Taliesin was always ready to give kisses and ocassionally would enjoy a nap with his human.  After my injury, Taliesin became more affectionate.  His snuggles and kisses increased.  He often followed me from room to room.

Taliesin

Christmas Tree

He wasn’t a perfect little ferret.  He used to relieve himself next to the toliet in my spare bathroom.   When I put a litterbox in that area, he’d hit the box upon ocassion.  However, it seemed to be much more amusing to him to poo right next to the box.  Another variation was to poo in the box but only be partially in the box- leaving the pee just outside the box.  I miss cleaning up after him.   Typically ferret, he sometimes had an interesting sense of adventure and what made a good toy.

Taliesin explores the plunger

All ferrets love naps.  Taliesin was no exception.   I found him in some very interesting positions and places, sound asleep.  Their sleep is so peaceful to watch.  Talisien loved to snuggle with his fur-siblings or human.  He also loved soft blankets, especially my army gear.

Nap time

Koda and Taliesin

Naptime

 Of course, there’s nothing like playtime for a ferret.  Taliesin was no exception.  He played hard.  His favorite toys were stashed in his secret spots.  He’d wrestle and chase with the others.  He explored “forbidden” spaces.  Taliesin loved playing with stuffed balls and tennis balls.  He “hiked” the ball or rolled it around.  He had a large collection stashed away.

Taliesin and Koda

Tosca and Taliesin

Taliesin was diagnosed with lymphoma last month.   His last month was a happy time for him.  The medications controlled his symptoms.  He played, ate well, and experienced no pain.  He spent his last evening sleeping in my arms.   It was a peaceful crossing to Rainbow Bridge.  Dook in Peace, Taliesin.  You are missed.

The night he went to the Bridge, I had a dream.  My furkids at Rainbow Bridge (Merlynn, Jester, Zahn, and Druid) were playing with Taliesin in my living room.  Taliesin looked like he did when he was about two.  His weight was healthy and he had a thick coat.  He had more energy and his eyes were bright.  All the ferrets looked young and healthy and happy.  After several minutes of dook and dance, the ferrets all ran towards me.  In my dream, I was on my couch.  I was relaxed, more asleep than awake.  One by one, the ferrets all jumped on my stomach, using it as a trampoline.  They flew into the air, where they turned into balls of light and disappeared.  Merlynn’s light was gold and deep red; Jester was a playful yellow and green; Zahn’s was blue with a little white, Druid was earth colors.  Taliesin’s was indigo with some white.  I knew in the dream that Taliesin was ok.  I woke with a sense of peace.  I truly think the ferrets came to get him when he was ready to go.

I miss Taliesin.  I know he’s now healthy and happy.  He’s waiting for me and is only as far away as my heart and memories.