I love ferrets. There, I said it. In my life, I've shared space and love with two of these smelly dolls. While I don't have any ferrets right now, I'd love to have another someday in the future. Over the past few weeks, I've literally been scanning every single photo and negative in my possession and have come across many photos of pets long gone which, of course, have sent me down memory lane. Today, I share with you my ferrets.
When I was sixteen, I decided I needed a ferret and amazingly, my parents said ok. I was one of those kids who ALWAYS had multiple pets in my bedroom, in addition to fish. When I said I wanted a ferret, my dad began searching in the Bargain Post (basically Craigslist in paper form) and found 'Petunia' who was only two years old and was living with a young couple with a new baby. They were selling the ferret, her cage and extras for $90ish bucks. We drove home with a ferret in the car.
She was HILARIOUS. Ferrets are hilarious in general to me, though. Hopping everywhere, making the most entertaining sounds, getting into EVERYTHING. And of course they stink. I quickly changed Petunia's name to Stinky. It was much more fitting :)
A short while after taking Stinky into our home, I left for college in Oklahoma City. My mom and sister would take care of her but I always felt guilty that she wasn't getting as much attention as she did when I was around. When I was home on the weekends or over breaks, I would take her with me everywhere I could. My favorite place to take her was my Great Granny's nursing home where half of the residents would refer to her as a cat and the other half would refer to her as a rat. She was so sweet to everyone though, regardless of how they viewed her. She would sleep in my lap in my car and I later learned from a truck-driving cousin of mine that many truckers have ferrets as pets on the road because they do so well in the car!
Fast forward to my junior year of college. I decided one day that Stinky would come to live with me in OKC. Animals weren't allowed in our campus apartments but I was already breaking rule upon rule while living there so I figured one more wouldn't hurt :) I loaded Stinky up and got her situated in my efficiency apartment. It was shortly after having her with me that she started losing her hair, and quickly. A quick trip to a random vet and I learned that she had adrenal cancer which is incredibly common in domesticated, female ferrets. The vet gave her six months to live.
After that visit, we ditched the cage and Stinky began to live with me like a cat. She either slept with me in bed or in my dirty clothes hamper. She would come when called, was so loving and became my ultimate college sidekick. At times her hair would grow back completely and at other times, she would be completely bald. I remember getting caught by maintenance once for having her in the apartments but once he saw a bald ferret, he let it slide.
My second ferret came into my life around this same time. My boss' son worked at a pet store which sold ferrets. One started to lose her hair which was that tell tell sign of adrenal cancer so they were going to put her down until I got wind of it. Stinky then had a sister, Segunda.
Segunda was absolutely beautiful but was CRAZY. She had been handled very, very little in her captive life. She stayed with Stinky and me in the apartment until I took her home to my family. My sister deserves all of the credit in the world for taming Segunda. She ended up being just as sweet as Stinky, which was the epitome of a sweet ferret. When I moved back to Tulsa after college and moved into my little basement apartment, Segunda came back to live with Stinky and me.
At almost ten years old, we lost Stinky. She had begun to have seizures occasionally until they became more frequent and finally, had one where she literally screamed. It killed me. I took her in that day. THAT killed me. I credit her living cage-less for so long and for Segunda to keeping her young and active for her unusual ferret longevity. Segunda continued on for another year until her illness got the best of her. My sister and I were with her at home when she passed.
Every time I go to the pet store, I stop and stare at the ferrets. I always said that they could put a smile on your face no matter what kind of day you were having and I still stand by that. I'll always be thankful for my time with those two smelly kids and for the memories I have to hold on to. Having a ferret as a pet is completely different than having a dog or cat, that's for sure, but just like having a dog or a cat, they'll impact your life in ways you never imagined.