Aye, Calypso

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One of my all time favorite pictures of Calypso and I… this was the day he arrived in January, 2012.

I was hoping I wouldn’t cry but just putting this picture up got it all going.

Its been 3 weeks since I had one of the most absolute worst days of my life because I had to put our hilarious little Calypso to sleep. And I was alone. And I sobbed after he took his last breaths.

Such sad emotions for one of the happiest little spirits who was well known for the dramatic life he lived.

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Our albino, Cousteau with little Phillipa

Calypso joined the party not long after we lost our big boy, Cousteau.

Ferrets are very emotional creatures. They form incredible bonds with their companions, human and otherwise. Our first ferret, Marshall mourned the loss of our kitty, Malchek for several months. Phillipa was no different. She lost Jacques and then Cousteau in fairly short order.

Within days, Alistair drove here through a snow storm and brought a new bestie for her.

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Phillipa & Calypso in the pirate ship getting along just fine.

He was a mischievous little imp from the get-go, stealing shoes or their insoles, the litter box scoop, hats, anything he possibly could to hide under one of the cars or pieces of furniture.

You just had to laugh at him when we played the “Chase” game, running and hiding from one another throughout the house.

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“I’ve just re-wired the brakes in the RX-7, Mama!”

And his amorous attempts to woo Phillipa were hysterical as he leapt with all 4 feet in the air to pounce on her.

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Calypso learned not to bite, instead choosing to give us ‘kisses’ whenever he could!

He is the one who attacked the guinea pigs on Kentucky Derby day that spring when I had left their bathroom door open. The story of that and, sadly, their eventual demise (which Calypso had nothing to do with) is on the blog, “One Eye Watching You.”

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Showering with Calypso was always a giggle!

We forgave our little Frenchman but Karma is a bitch.

2012 was the year Alistair broke his pelvis, requiring extensive surgery and months of rehab.

Its also the year something went wrong with Calypso’s pelvis. He just couldn’t use his rear legs one day. We watched him drag himself around when we let them out of the cage. Neither of them had any scrapes or missing hair or any indication that something actually happened.

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Twice a day Calypso and I bonded over meds, calorie supplement and treats.

But he never once looked like he wasn’t having fun. If he wasn’t giving up why should I?

So his vet-Mummy got up early each morning to fit in half an hour of physio, massage and meds with him in my lap. My new exotics book came in handy yet again and I added a calorie supplement and treats.

I chronicled his tale on social media, where everyone was following Alistair’s story as well.

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My 2 pelvis patients the fall and winter of 2012.

Calypso bonded to both of us thanks to his limitations, his needs and his wonderful personality.

And we came up with some fun ways to encourage physical therapy when he got a bit stronger.

Everyone fell in love with the Fyfe ferrets, who now have a bit of a fan following. The ferrets and I do holiday videos on the sing-song-saddle and their admirers are plenty.

The fans rejoiced when Alistair brought a little brother, Luigi into the mix 2 years ago. His in-your-face personality was perfect for his older siblings and the 3 of them were inseparable.

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Triple Trouble!

We played, we romped, we had shoes stolen, we showered, we cuddled, we made videos, we laughed, we had many visitors who had never seen or held a ferret before and we loved sharing our ferret ambassadors with the world.

But then something wasn’t quite right with Calypso in November.

Putting it all together with our internal med vet friend we realized he had a tumor on his spleen. A tumor that would grow like Harry’s had and would eventually take his life.

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Mummy and her boys!

Just like before, though, it looked like he was still having a lot of fun. Who were we to be sad and give up on him when, clearly, their lives were great?

Other than the one horrible night the tumor must have ruptured and he went into hemorrhagic shock. He was barely alert and I held him through the night in a blanket on my lap and told him all of the things that needed to be said. I told him that everyone loved him and that he had brought so much joy to so many people. That Phillipa and Luigi adored him and all of our house-sitters like Jessi, Carson, Lynn and Whitney would miss him so much. That if he showed me he was in pain I would try to do something as his vet but that night he hovered between life and death in a peaceful state so I just held him as his Mummy.

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Luigi and Calypso, post bath, fluffed & buffed.

And the morning welcomed both of us back!

Calypso lived to see 2016. And February. And March! And we went back to twice-daily calorie supplements and special bonding together. And I made the effort to include the full trio in our Christmas video this year because it was important for me to share him once more.

And he had a couple of minor episodes of weakness but he continued to eat, drink and be merry, stealing Loki’s kibble whenever he could and mucking around in the water bowl with ice cubes for Boomer.

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the boys bellying up to the bar…

And we didn’t tell anyone because he was still pretty vibrant and because we have lost so many of our companions over the last year and half and it became Time for old Boomer and Loki keeps having random seizures and I didn’t want more people feeling sad for us and I really wasn’t sure how I would do anything on my own if I had to and I researched what I could but there isn’t much out there and he kept stealing footwear and wanting to come out to play.

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Hard to get pics of them all holding still… hence the blurry Phillipa!

I had fully planned to take the trio with me to Bismarck this recent trip back. Calypso had been doing fine despite more weight loss and we have our old ferret cage there. What an adventure it would have been but in the end, it didn’t happen.

He had another episode of weakness that he didn’t bounce back from. And he wasn’t engaging with the thing-on-a-string for the first time ever. And the shine went out of his eyes.

For the very first time he wasn’t having fun.

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Noshing on Loki’s kibbles a few weeks ago.

I knew what I needed to do but wasn’t sure how to do it.

How to hold 1.6lbs of ferret and find enough muscle to somehow inject a sedative…by myself. I didn’t want his or my final memories of our time together to be a struggle of pushing and restraining and then a sharp needle in a thin body. Our relationship deserved better than that.

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All of our relationships deserved better.

Somehow I remembered a cough syrup that I had in my med collection and was able to put that with his calorie supplement 3 Sunday mornings ago and he peacefully slipped into a boozy slumber. I was then able to give the first injection peacefully without so much as a hair twitch.

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A couple of years ago, high up in the cat condo (and we wonder how he injured himself?)

I laid him on a blue towel in my lap and watched my tears fall onto his beautiful cinnamon body as I gave him his final injection.

And I sobbed as he took his last breath, a heavier version of what I’m doing now. He took my tears with him across the Rainbow Bridge where so many other Fyfes have gone.

And I’m sorry to write this because you all shared in his dramatic stories and his joy-filled adventures.

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Just a few weeks ago

And you all know how much Phillipa and Luigi miss him but I am just so thankful that they have each other.

And I’m thankful Alistair called that day to help me through and see how I was and I’m thankful Merielle and Theresa were online hand-holders as well.

And so goes the magical tale of Calypso Fyfe. If you know John Denver’s song you know it rings true about this boy, with a slight adaptation to one of the words:

Aye, Calypso, the things that you’ve shown us, the stories you tell. Aye, Calypso, I sing to your spirit, the men who have loved you so long and so well.

RIP, sweet Calypso. There will never be another like you. xo

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Calypso & Mummy this winter.

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More of our trio with Papa

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One of their many fans making sure Calypso looked good in his beret!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun With Ferrets

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Alistair and the Trio-of-Trouble, Luigi, Phillipa and Calypso

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.

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Gareth with Koshka the cat and Marshall the ferret (and Alistair, after hockey practice, apparently)

Enter Marshall.

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.

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Bonjour!

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.

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Jacques: “Bonjour, Large Cat! ” Bebe: “Great. Nice to meet you. Don’t eat my food, okay?”

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.

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Jacques, our new black-eyed white, on his first day at home!

I had become a veterinarian since we had had Marshall and I knew that “exotic” pets often did better with one of their own.

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Our new little sable ferret! The pet store said it was a male and, to be honest, I never questioned that. I never looked!

Enter Phillipe!

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.

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Just a few years ago, Phillip(a) and Jacques with Papa!

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!

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Mama? Is that you? I was sleeping!

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Its okay to play in here, right? Je suis in LOVE with this drawer!

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).

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Enter Cousteau! A true albino!

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.

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Cousteau and Phillipa… you can just barely see her nose under his monstrous body!

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.

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Better, fun times with Cousteau & Phillipa

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!

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Welcome home, Calypso Fyfe!

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.

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Mr Innocent is underneath Phillipa in their Pirate Ship

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.

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Stunts like climbing up the tall cat tree could be what led to the broken pelvis…

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.

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Twice-daily anti-inflammatories, vitamin supplement and PT including massage and ‘bicycling’ with Calypso

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.

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Just a little Fluff’n’Buff post bath

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.

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Calypso: “Look at me, Phillipa! I can do this on my own!” Phillipa: “Sit down before you hurt yourself again. I’m not losing another boyfriend!”

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…)

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Enter Luigi! The Italian Stallion!

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.

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Phillipa, Luigi, Calypso and Papa… a real handful!

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The boys… when you’re a ferret, every part of your body doubles as a pillow for your housemates

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.

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Petite little Phillipa fits under the hall closet… for when she needs to get away from The Boys. Every girl needs a little Moi-Time.

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.

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Luigi being inquisitive. A new bucket must be explored!

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.

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Well, maybe not as much laughter finding Luigi with the sub-woofer’s insides on the outside…

We will share more from the Sing-Song Saddle another time. For now, much love from the Fyfe Farm Ferrets!

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Bonjour! Hope you have a happy summer!

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We’re innocent! Honest!

An Introduction to the Ferret Fyfes

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Phillipa and Luigi in their new ‘ball room’… a much ballyhooed product I got online that my gang thinks is merely ‘meh’

I will write more about the Fyfe Ferrets in a longer blog tomorrow.

You see, there is a large community of Fyfe Ferret Friends & Fans who was expecting our annual Canada Day video yesterday and it didn’t happen.

Or, wait… the video happened.

Posting it to Facebook didn’t happen.

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The background of our stage for the 2015 Canada Day video

These began a few years ago with a veterinarian friend’s suggestion/request that I sing Oh, Canada atop one of the horses wearing chaps. Possibly sipping wine, I can’t remember the specifics.

I couldn’t provide that but as I looked around the house (always up for a comedic challenge) I spotted our saddle bar stool… and then a ferret ran by.

And so began the Sing-Song Saddle tradition that puts smiles on faces and makes people wonder if I’ve been alone in the middle of nowhere for too long.

Or I have consumed too much wine.

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Calypso, giving Papa some nuzzles!

In truth, I consume nothing prior to the making of the videos. (Once I hit “enter” and post them its a different story…)

So I shall try to attach the video from yesterday’s Canada Day celebration with our French duo, Calypso and Phillipa. Our Italian Stallion, Luigi sat this one out because, come on, I can only do so much. There will be children in Canada disappointed to not hear the Luigi Song.

There will be time for that.

And time for the tales of Marshall, Jacques, Phillipe, Cousteau, Phillipa (oops on that one!), Calypso and Luigi.

For now… enjoy our own special brand of zany: