Ten? You really have ten?
I get that question a lot. Whenever anyone asks why, oh why, do you have ten ferrets, my answer has always been, “If you meet Pippin, you’ll understand.”
From now on, though, the answer will always be, “If you’d met Pippin, you’d understand.”
I met Pip when he was six weeks old. Baby ferrets are not supposed to be shipped at six weeks, but Pip was. And he was very sick. He lived in isolation for three weeks until he overcame the flu. Then he came home with me.
He made me laugh so hard. His tail would fluff out like a bottle brush. He would hop around sideways and fall all over himself. He would come when I called his name. He would talk and talk and talk, making little ferret dooking noises as though I knew exactly what he was talking about. He even allowed me to kiss his little face over and over again, called ‘Super Mom Kisses,’ and sometimes he even kissed back. He was charming. He charmed everyone.
When Pip was eight months old, he got very sick. No doctor could tell me what was wrong. I slept by his cage every night for a month. Every four hours, I fed him baby food off my fingertips. When I had to work, I called in a ferret sitter to feed him. Sometimes, I knew the pain was terrible for him. He would cry, like a baby cries. I almost gave up, but he never ever did. When we finally found the cure, it was like the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. Pip was a fighter. He fought his whole life.
Even when the adrenal disease started, he kept fighting. He couldn’t have surgery, so we opted for medical treatment. And he kept fighting. All his hair came back for a while. He played like nothing was wrong. He ate and slept and cuddled and talked and fought like the little trooper he’d always been.
When I stopped treatment last month, I knew it wouldn’t be long. It’s funny, no matter how you prepare you’re never really ready. Logically, I knew his little kidneys were tiring out. Pip was tiring out. He’d been fighting for six long years, fighting against his own little body, which could never keep up with his little spirit.
I found him yesterday, curled up in his bed, asleep but not really asleep. At peace. Today is a rough day, but each day will get easier. He’s in a better place, without any sickness, without any shots or pills, with all the other little friends who have passed through our lives over the past six years.
I’ll always miss him. No other living soul will ever replace him. I’ll always love him with every part of me.
Nine? You have how many ferrets? Why?
Well, if you’d met Pippin, you’d understand.
Sleep well, my sweet little boy. I’ll see you again someday.