Ferrets' blog

A blog with news about my ferrets: Tata, Izzie and Liira. There will also be reminiscense about Tenchi, Adric, Ker Avon, Ryo-Ohki, Nyssa, Lady Ayeka, Romana, Pertwee, Podo, Kodo, Ella, Zephyr and Chin Soon, all of whom are gone now.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Hard To Believe My Mom Sent This

My mom is starting to "get it" when it comes to pets. Both my brother and I are pet owners. My brother and his family have dogs and I, of course, have my ferrets. My mom started asking about Nyssa during her illness, which I appreciated. During her visit a few weeks ago was clearly uncomfortable with the little weasels who very much wanted to make friends and play with her.

My mom really surprised me when Nyssa had an accident on me. She actually helped with the other ferrets while I got Nyssa and myself cleaned up. She kept referring to Nyssa as "the little one" and was amazed how a ferret who looked so emaciated and "pitiful" managed to play and run around. My mom saw one of Nyssa's very last good, active periods. Since then she also asked about how Chin Soon, Ella, and Zephyr were taking Nyssa's passing and sounded sincerely concerned.

This next piece, which she saw and sent to me via e-mail, shows she really is starting to understand even if she doesn't appreciate animals herself. A few months ago I would never have believed my mom would have sent this:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets

  1. They live here. You don't.

  2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)

  3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

  4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.
When it comes to my ferrets all four of the above statements are definitely true.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ferrets' Reaction To Loss

The reaction of the other three ferrets to Nyssa's passing has been interesting. Ella and Chin Soon clearly bonded to Nyssa. Zephyr didn't and mainly saw Nyssa as a rival. Zephyr, predictably, has been unaffected. Ella went for several days of not wanting to play much and acting depressed. She's back to her old self now.

Chin Soon was the most interesting. She's an absolute sweetheart, very bonded to me and follows me around like a puppy at times, very energetic and playful, but not as bright as the others. Even though she got to sniff Nyssa's body I think it didn't dawn on her that Nyssa was really dead and not going to ever wake up again. It's only when I put out Nyssa's favorite fleece blanket, washed, with no Nyssa odor and no Nyssa, that Chin Soon understood. She magically became un-litter trained outside the cage, an anger/grief reaction I've seen in ferrets before. She'd look right at me while doing the wrong thing as well -- which I take as she still knows it's wrong but was deliberately displeasing me. Last night she finally started using the litter pan again. Adric did exactly the same thing when Pertwee died and again when Avon died. Ferrets have intelligence and definitely have feelings.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Old Brown Ferret

The following are some changed and rearranged words to Ian Anderson's song "Old Black Cat", lamenting the passing of his cat, Mauser. I don't have any songwriting ability but this piece is beautiful and with some new words I've adapted it for Nyssa. The song can be found on the album Rupi's Dance, which I highly recommend. My aplogies to Mr. Anderson if he doesn't like people mucking about with his lyrics. I just like the song and loved Nyssa.
My old brown ferret passed away last Wednesday
She never knew what a hard day was
Woke up late and war-danced with friends
If questioned "Why?" answered "Just Because"

She rarely spoke preferring silence
Eight lost years was all she had
Occasionally sneaked some stolen treats
Sometimes was good, sometimes was bad

My old brown fert wasn't much of a looker
You could pass her by -- just a quiet shadow
Got pushed around by Tenchi and Ayeka
Didn't seem to mind much -- just the way life goes

Padded around in furry slippers
Wrestled with her ferret friends
She played it cool with burgundy-eyed innocence
Receiving gladly what the good Lord sends

Didn't give her a birthday present
Like a fleecy sleep sack nice and new
Thought she'd make it through the summer
I guess this song will have to do

My old brown fert...
Old brown ferret...

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Goodbye Nyssa (1998-2006)

In recent days Nyssa was suffering. Sunday she stopped eating on her own. On Sunday night she was miserable and spent a huge part of the night asleep on my lap. She looked to me for comfort. I called and left a message for her vet, Dr. Sarah Wolfe. I coped the best I could. On Monday she perked up, started eating gravy and kibble again, and seemed better, but her rear legs could still barely hold her and she kept falling over. She was so very, very skinny. Dr, Wolfe called to see how she was doing. Since there was some improvement we decided to wait until her Wednesday vet appointment to make any decision.

Last night though Nyssa was still eating she was miserable again. She once again went to sleep with me on the couch. When she did get up and eat she couldn't stand long enough to finish and kept falling over, getting up, eating a bit, and falling over again. I decided I had finally reached the point where I was no longer extending her life but rather I was extending her suffering and death. I had to love her enough to let her go. Today at Dr. Wolfe's office I did just that.

Nyssa was eight years old. She lived 19 months with lymphoma and fought for her life every single day. Even today at the vet's office she was alert and wanted to get out and explore. She just didn't have the strength to do it any more.

When Nyssa was just four months old she had an intestinal blockage. I nursed her through it and we managed to get it to pass without surgery. At that time she really bonded to me. I fell asleep watching her at one point and woke up to her licking my face. She's been super close to me ever since and she was very special to me. As much as I love the other ferrets and as much as this was expected I am going to miss Nyssa terribly.

Today was the end of an era. The last ferret from my original 1998 group is gone.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Chin Soon and Nyssa's Latest Vet Visit

Chin Soon and Nyssa went to the vet on Tuesday. Chin Soon had her distemper shot (an annual event) and thanks to pretreatment with Benadryl she didn't have an adverse reaction this year. She was bouncing all over the place and Dr. Wolfe, who more than not sees very sick ferrets, really enjoyed her. The little monster jumped up high to pull Dr. Wolfe's jacket off a doorknob where it was hanging. Later she managed to squeeze under a door and lead us on a merry chase through the office. I think she had great fun at our expense.

Nyssa, OTOH, was there for last desperate measures. She's lost another 139g and is under half her normal body weight at just 616g. She looks like a walking skeleton. She's incontinent now and her diarrhea can no longer be controlled -- all part of the lymphoma destroying her digestive system. She was overdue for a depo medrol shot (long lasting steroid) and that seems to have perked her up a bit. She's eating like there is no tomorrow and still fighting for life. My mom, who visited from last Thursday through this past Monday, found her pitiful to look at but was amazed at how much she acted like a normal ferret despite being so emaciated. Nyssa hasn't given up so I can't give up on her just yet. Her time is coming soon, though. By any standard she is an old ferret so I guess I should be grateful that she's hung around this long and maintained some quality of life. It's still hard.

Tonight Nyssa did eat some gravy, took Ferretvite (a high calorie supplement) as a treat twice, plus begged for a treat and took a Raisin Bandit. She also ate lots of kibble, drank lots of water, and ran around. That doesn't sound much like a ferret in the final stage of cancer and near the very end of her life, does it?

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