Warning: this is a sad post.
In late January, Ando came down with what I thought was a cold. (Ferrets can catch human colds.) He slept a lot. I fed him duck soup and gave him extra vitamins. A day or so later, he had a seizure, and I realized it wasn’t a cold, but something much, much worse.
After getting him on medication, he seemed to improve. Still, I set up a smaller cage for him. I had to leave for my ASUNDER tour only a few days after we discovered Ando’s illness, so I showed my husband how to care for him, how to force-feed him if necessary, and told him I didn’t want to know if anything bad happened to Ando while I was away. I felt terrible. I felt guilty. I felt like Ando would think he got sick, so I’d abandoned him.
Over the week I was gone on tour, my husband would occasionally give me good updates: Ando dragged one of his stuffed dogs into a box; Ando complained about being locked in his cage for the night; Ando ate all his food without any prompting. I didn’t hear any bad news about him, but I knew the bad news was there. Ferrets are prone to get a number of illnesses, some that can be treated, though the treatment doesn’t always work or last. And sometimes, it’s not even possible to do anything but ease their suffering. This was Ando’s case, and I knew it.
When I arrived home February 5th, Ando was still alive. He was weak and tired and much thinner than when I’d left him, but he was still Ando. He was still affectionate and sweet. Todd and Hiro were well, which was a huge relief. All the ferrets kept looking at me like they couldn’t believe I was real.
I had to leave again for a couple of days, but I got home late February 7th and had most of the weekend off (except for a small event a few towns over). I spent a lot of time playing with Todd and Hiro, who were delighted to have their blanket-shaking slave back. And a lot of time with Ando, who just wanted to snuggle. But over the weekend, he grew more and more distant.
Sunday, he was more elsewhere than here, but I carried him with me everywhere. I talked to him, petted him, told him I love him. I kissed him good night before I closed his cage door. In the morning, he was gone.
Ando was only six months old. He died from one of those incurable monster illnesses ferrets are prone to get. It happens a lot. (Ando isn’t the first victim of it in my house.) He held on longer than I had expected, though, and I’m glad.
I’m not over it. Todd and Hiro are doing fine, though. I hope they have long lives together, because Todd needs a friend (he’s been a different ferret since we got Hiro and Ando, once he decided to like them), and Hiro needs Todd. Ando was my special boy, though. He was the sweetest, most affectionate ferret I’d ever met. In the almost-ten years I’ve had ferrets, I’ve never had a ferret who wanted to snuggle like Ando did.
We didn’t have long together, and I will never stop being hurt by how quickly he was taken, but I will always love him. I hope he’s somewhere else now, playing with other ferrets who’ve lived in my ferret room. I’m sure they’re all making a terrible (adorable) mess together.
Ando (the mouth hanging open), Hiro, and Todd snuggling.