I had never heard of ferrets until my grandson came to stay with me for a few months and brought along his two pets.
Millie was a female; he got her for free from the pet shop he worked at after school. She was one of the rare ferrets who didn’t come from a ferret farm and had trouble adapting. Millie was a free spirit even among ferrets. Once again returned by a customer who claimed “She scares the children.” the store owner decided it was time to put Millie to sleep for good, all 20 ounces of her. My grandson offered to adopt her. So Millie went home with the kid, in the room he rented from a friend. Between school and work he didn’t spend much time with Millie and felt guilty about it…just like parents do. So, he saved enough money to buy a playmate for Millie. He called this male ferret Fat Head because, well, the ferret although small, had a large head. He wasn’t as smart as Millie, in fact he seemed sort of lazy. Until we realized that he was handicapped. F.H. couldn’t move his back legs like normal ferrets do. He managed to hop, like a rabbit, but couldn’t climb or stand on his back legs. After they moved in and I got to know these little furry things, I took F.H to a vet and was told there was a problem with his back and couldn’t be fixed. Non one must have told F.H about it because he was always cheerful and playful and he loved bits of turkey as treat.
Millie and F.H. were as domesticated as ferrets can get and they would walk with me to the mailbox and then race back home. All was well until one time F.H. decided to smell the flowers and ended up disturbing an ant hill…I could fill a book with the crazy situations those two would get into daily. I found it endearing that in spite of the fact that they don’t communicate vocally, they manage to show affection. Ferrets are known to have a short life span.
For Millie it was even shorter, she was 19 months old when one Summer evening, just before her bedtime, a bark scorpion crawled into the house and stung her. We rushed her to a vet, wrapped into a soft towel to prevent her from hurting herself while she trashed around, the poison from the sting closing her throat. Once a ferret or other small pet is stung by a scorpion, there is nothing to be done but watch them die this horrible dead. When my grandson moved out he only had F.H, who was as playful and easy going as usual. But once again, the ferret would be left alone for hours and hours…Soo, the grandson bought a white ferret as playmate for F.H. This one, Cotton Flake, was the smallest ferret ever, she still is. Fat Head passed away a year ago from cancer. And while Millie was by far the more sociable and domesticated of the three, Fat Head was the cuddliest pet ever. Like a miniature teddy bear. His death left an empty spot in my heart. So I decided, that’s it, no more pets in this house and I avoided Cotton Flake at all costs. Until tonight, she is here, raising hell in my closet. She must be the only ferret who ran away from home three times, came back twice, was found and returned the last time. The first time she came back she actually scratched on the front door until we let her in. I’m not making this up. Come morning she’ll go back to my grandson’s place and take another piece of my heart with her.