Many of my long-time readers will know that one of the hardest parts of me of moving to the UK was that I had to leave behind my ferrets. When I first moved three years ago, I had Chase, Lamborghini, and Enzo. Every time I returned to the UK after a visit home, I knew it was always a possibility that would not see them on the next visit.
On my last visit in November, it became clear that Chase was likely not going to make it to my next visit. He was pushing nine years old which for a ferret is quite old. He had a lot of difficulty walking and the number of medications he needed for his diabetes, enlarged prostate, and adrenal disease seemed so much for such a little body to deal with. I held him every chance I got. I stroked his fur and told him how much I loved him. I knew deep down it would be the last time I got to do this for him.
Chase came into my life very soon after I lost my ferret, Toby, to a rare disease when he was just ten months old. I went to the pet shop and decided to pick the most rambunctious ferret in the mix. I first saw Chase lying on his back and pushing a plastic igloo up and out of his way while he continued to run around the pen. I took him home that day. He was a terror! When we first got him, I named him Wilson after Dr. Wilson on House but it became quite clear that he was much more of a Chase. A week after bringing him home I told my mom that I was taking him back to the pet store. He was just too naughty. He got into everything!
One evening I was sitting on the couch enjoying some potato chips and dip when somehow, this tiny little ball of energy and fur was suddenly scurrying across my stomach and planting himself face first in my sour cream and onion dip. He also managed to singe all his whiskers off when he stuck his face into a burning candle. At some point though, Chase became my everything. He was special. He would sleep in my bed with me and lick my face and cuddle. He loved to play and I loved to play with him.
He knew so many of my other ferrets, Abbott, Gandalf, Peek-a-boo, Ziva, Lambo, Enzo, Rey, and Finn. As he grew up, he became the elder statesman. He might have been gradually becoming more fragile, but he could still put the others in their place if they tried to mess with him. He was a loving alpha though.
Eventually, he could no longer climb into my bed with me when I was home on visits. It broke my heart not to have him in my bed to cuddle at night. I made sure though that I gave him plenty of cuddles every morning when he woke up.
On the day he passed away, I got to Skype with him one last time to say goodbye. He could no longer walk, the medicine wasn’t helping him, and my parents had to help him urinate. He could no longer bound around the house or play with his friends. He shook from low insulin levels, and spent most of his time sleeping. It was time. I was devastated not to be there for him. I wish I could have held him as he slipped away, stroking his fur, and telling him how much he meant to me. He was with me through a lot and he was special. It’s hard for people who are not pet parents to understand just how much an animal can mean to you. Chase was more than just a ferret or a pet. I adored him and I miss him now. Home will not feel the same without his presence.