As many of you know, we adore ferrets.
It wasn’t a species either of us knew anything about or had yearned for as a child. In fact, I didn’t have any pets growing up so I honestly had no pre-conceived notions of what they were like as family members.
When Alistair’s kids moved in with us in Watford City at the ages of 8 and 10, they had just watched a speaker/entertainer at their school with his pet ferret who did tricks and played around on a leash. The kids were mesmerized.
She was a cutie who lived a good, long life and made friends with our cats, our Golden, and our neighbors. She moved with us to Canada where she would join Oscar, Boomer & I as I did my farm chores out on our 30 acre farm.
They really are that smart! She knew how to get in and out through the dryer opening and that was that.
She moved back to ND with us to Hazen where we had to live in town for once.
Sadly, the neighbor brought 2 aggressive stray spaniels home who had something to do with our 6 year old girl disappearing in the snow one morning.
And that was the end of Fyfe Ferrets.
Until Jacques moved in.
A few years had passed but we never got rid of the ferret crate, (which Alistair and Gareth designed and built)- that was a good thing when the local fire crew here in Seeley Lake, Montana showed up with a homeless ferret and guinea pig. Their owner had become a ward of the state (who had been living under a false identity, no less… you can imagine it was going to be hard to find family members to take them) so the crew brought them to me.
Not everyone is into ferrets. I get it.
They are kind of weasely-looking, with long, narrow bodies and pointy noses. A lot of people have had bad experiences with their incredibly sharp teeth and, in general, most of the population hasn’t had any interaction with ferrets.
Ferrets are very personable and friendly. They are curious and playful and maybe a bit mischievous and the rest of the time they are eating or sleeping.
I had become a veterinarian since we had had Marshall and I knew that “exotic” pets often did better with one of their own.
We thought our 2 boys were super cuddly, never once thinking he might be a she. It didn’t seem to matter, though, because they became fast friends and cuddle buddies.
When running about the house for daily Play Time, Jacques would often disappear (typical for ferrets). One day I found his secret hiding place… in my drawer of sequined, sparkly figure skating costumes from yesteryear!
Jacques was older, though, and even though we medicated him for his adrenal gland issues for a year, he eventually, sadly succumbed to the disease.
Ferrets are one of the most emotional mammals that exist, rivaling humans in their mourning.
With me working and Alistair gone half of the time, and the cats all old enough to not need to romp around kitten-like anymore, something had to be done for Phillip(a).
Alistair drove around in a snow storm on his way here and found Cousteau, an enormous albino who the pet store said was just young and sold him as such.
He settled in right away with his new friend- I mean REALLY settled in, which was when I decided to lift tails to see what the deal was.
Sure enough, Phillipe was Phillipa.
Theirs was a short relationship, though, as not long after I noticed the dental tartar and put that together with his rather calm behavior, Cousteau became ill and I wasn’t able to save our big, older boy.
We felt awful for little Phillipa so during the long drive back to Montana again, Alistair showed up with a Cinnamon kit he had found at a PetCo in Great Falls.
Balance was restored and the frivolity resumed!
Phillipa and Calypso have been tight since day 1 and they remain snuggle buddies.
Calypso’s time as a Fyfe hasn’t been without its own share of drama.
He is the reason our guinea pig, Cadbury had 1 eye. (Blog from 2014 called One Eye Watching You details the gruesome events of the day). The whole thing was my fault for leaving the bathroom door to the guinea pigs open. The rest is history.
Karma sucks, though, because a few months after the Guinea Pig Incident (which both girls survived) (and my Exotics medical knowledge skyrocketed), Calypso had a gait abnormality.
Basically, he couldn’t walk or stand well on his own.
I x-rayed him at the clinic and thought I saw the tiniest of fracture lines in the tiniest of pelvises. (Pelvises were high on my mind that fall after Alistair had busted his up a few months prior).
He never stopped eating & drinking or having control of his elimination and he had feeling in his extremities so I never stopped trying to fix him. Its a vet thing but its also a Mummy thing.
He didn’t give up so why the Hell should I?
He let us bathe him almost daily because he couldn’t really lift up to urinate and ferrets generally like to be clean.
When he started to get more strength in his back and hindlimbs Alistair fashioned a John Deere cart for him to run around the house in. A quick video for your chuckles….
After about 6 months he was standing, playing and goofing around again! His legion of Facebook fans rejoiced along with us when I would post pictures of him standing on his own.
And whether it was an act of celebration or a subconscious effort to make sure Phillipa was never without a boyfriend again, Alistair went to the new PetCo in Bismarck… repeatedly to check on a cute silver kit he saw there…
(You know where this is going…)
Luigi joined in and immediately cuddled up with Phillipa and Calypso. Any given day at any given time I will find at least 2 of them snuggled up, and often its all 3 of them.
They are good with the cats and naughty with blind little Loki, darting in and out at her. I swear I can hear them giggling when she barks at the air in front of her.
They are hoarders who steal shoes from houseguests. They are class clowns who love to play the Chase Game. They are inquisitive to a fault- wherever they can fit their face into the body can follow.
Ferrets aren’t for everyone and they require your time for playing, cleaning, interacting, and making movies together. You should research them if you are considering one as there is a lot to learn.There are also ferret adoption agencies for surrendered ferrets needing forever homes if you don’t want to buy one at a pet store.
I will do my best with my fantastic little companions (who really try to commit to their French or Italian accents!) to be a ferret ambassador. They are the only creatures I’ve known who can always, without fail, make me laugh.
We will share more from the Sing-Song Saddle another time. For now, much love from the Fyfe Farm Ferrets!