I got a new addition on 22.03.12. My vet found a stray ferret at her son's school and then a vet nurse phoned me up and once I'm involved I find it so hard to say no. So I fetched him and he is a wonderful albino boy but but I was also angry and frustrated. I was aiming for less animals and LESS groups of ferrets, I was down to 3 groups of ferrets and thinking before long I may have 2 groups. So now I have 4 groups instead. The new boy, called Skippy, is an intact hob, meaning he needs to be on his own for now. With him I am trying a new approach, instead of neutering him he had a Suprelorin implant which is used to take animals out of season. Apparently it is supposed to be better than neutering. So I will see how it works. But he will have to stay on his own for the foreseeable future. I've got a group of five ferrets but Charlie in that group is very aggressive to other ferrets. I tried to put Squirt in that group repeatedly and it never worked. Then I have Squirt and old, sick Leo but unless Skippy turns out to be as sweet and docile as Squirt, it won't work because I can NOT have anybody attacking Leo. Lastly there is Jake on his own, it was his sister Phoebe who died about a month ago. Jake is aggressive, too. My hope is that Skippy and Squirt can be friends once Leo dies. But Leo is so happy with having Squirt now that I could not split them up. Ferrets are so complicated, sigh.
Skippy the day he got here (after his bath) and the other ferrets reaction to the new smelly addition ;-) (they are usually all fast asleep during the day!)
So I asked my vet *not* to contact me about stray animals again. I couldn't believe it, when Skippy had the implant done, I was approached by a vet nurse *again* regarding a degu that was looking for a new home. So I asked my vet to please not tell me about animals that are needing homes as I am struggling emotionally and I can't deal with this, I said I do not want to know. I can't save them all and knowing and having to say no will hurt me as much as taking them all in. I can do neither. I said I'm wanting to move back to Germany but right now with having so many animals that is simply impossible. So I was getting so worked up about it all but then thought to alter my attitude towards the situation and accept it. I hope Skippy will become friends with Squirt so they can be together when Leo dies. I subscribed to a group called "Positive thinking" on Facebook and I keep saving all these nice quotes and sayings and one I came across was "Someday everything will all make sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason." So I'm taking this approach with Skippy. He is a lovely boy, has not bitten us at all, and the first thing he had to endure was a wash and then almost hours of getting ticks removed. And he just let me do all that. He had a lot of wounds on him, one was round and has scar tissue. But despite all the wounds and everything, he is such a happy and sweet boy.
Skippy April 2012
Skippy May 2012
Update May 2012
2 days after Leo was put to sleep, I tried Squirt, Leo's companion, with new boy Skippy. Squirt was so scared of Skippy for some reason and was screaming at him although Skippy gave him no reason whatsoever to be scared. After a while Squirt calmed down and stopped the screaming. They never fought at any point and no marks or anything on either of them. Squirt is still a bit scared but not so much now. Skippy is sooo adorable! Never in a million years would I have thought this when I first went to fetch him. I also never would have thought that Leo would be put to sleep exactly one month after Skippy's arrival. :-( And now it's all turned out fine with Skippy as the new companion for Squirt. Skippy is so playful and cuddly and so happy. He will lie on my lap and lick me, he's only the second ferret who's groomed me to this extent when I cuddle him. It's like I stroke him and he licks me. Arms, neck, face. He also grooms Squirt a lot. In Germany we have this cute word for babies and the 2 translations I found were "bundle of joy" or "little lump of sweetness", I don't know which or if either is used here for babies but Skippy is a lump all right, grin, and both expressions work well for him. He brings me so much joy. :-) It's like he is a combination of the traits of all the sweetest ferrets I've had. He is kind to other ferrets, very peaceful, very good natured. I keep asking myself if he was like this with his previous owners or whether I and the life I offer them brings out this gratitude, happiness and joyful behaviour.
All is well that ends well: Skippy and Squirt :-)
Oh, after he arrived, all he did was eat, eat, eat (and drink, boy did he drink, more than one 150 ml bottle per day!). He put on sooo much weight in the first 2 weeks... I've not had this "over eating" in my rescues to this extent before, he must have been hungry a lot before he arrived. :-( I'm hoping that he will loose his "extra" weight before long, he is not eating anywhere near as much any more. He also didn't have much energy at first and would not play for longer than 20-30 minutes, at least now he is up for at least one hour playing with Squirt. He has become so much more active in the last month and a half.
Oh, and Skippy is sooo photogenic!
Marbled ferret ;-)
Update August 2014
Some more pics because he is so beautiful. :) He has still not come back into season and his Suprelorin implant was done over 2 years ago now. :)
Update July 2016
I feel sad that I never updated Skippy's page. He lived with Squirt after Leo died, and when Tigger came to live with us, he joined Squirt and Skippy. In the meantime I had a group consisting of Honey, Snoopy, Peanut, Charlie and Franklin. I tried Squirt, Skippy and Tigger with the 5 but Charlie bullied the boys. But when Charlie died September 2012, I was able to put Honey, Snoopy, Peanut, Franklin and Squirt, Skippy and Tigger together. They all got on and Franklin loved Tigger. When Poley arrived, he went into the group as well. They were a lovely, peaceful group. In 2014, Franklin, Honey & Peanut all died, so in the end, Skippy was just with Tigger and Poley.
Skippy, Franklin & Peanut
Skippy, Honey & Franklin
Skippy & Honey
Skippy, Peanut & Snoopy
Skippy & Tigger
Ferret Skippy was diagnosed with lymphoma a week before skunk Sparky died. He had a lot of enlarged lymph nodes and a massive spleen. I thought I'd be loosing Skippy but he improved so much on pred, spleen gone down in size so much and all enlarged lymph nodes gone. He was put on a ridiculously high dose of pred at first, 2.5 mg twice a day. But he was back to normal for a month. Playing, having energy, acting normal and healthy and like he was feeling good. And even though the pred was reduced to 2 mg bid and then 1.5 mg bid, it wreaked havoc on his body. The muscles were just disintegrating and he accumulated fat in his abdomen. I'd say he had 1 month excellent quality of life, half a month of okay(ish) quality of life, and then half a month of being weak from the muscle loss and hardly having any energy. Then Tuesday the 19th of July 2016 we had a heat wave and Skippy developed breathing problems. He was lying on his back and was breathing so fast with his mouth open. I thought it was due to the heat so took him upstairs where it was cooler and he slept on the landing on the laminate and seemed more comfortable. Wednesday it was cooler but Skippy was even worse, I had him upstairs again and he slept in my bedroom, well, barely slept, he was restless and up every half hour to poop. Thursday was worse still, he could not get comfortable and settle down to sleep. So I took him to the vets, I first thought for a check-up but while waiting there he was so extremely uncomfortable and doing such fast open mouth breathing that I decided to have him put to sleep. Gut feeling again. I mean Tuesday I thought it was the heat but Thursday it had cooled down even more so it was not the heat. When the euthanasia solution was injected into his abdomen, he was out like a light. I had forgotten to bring a paste for him to lick because I hadn't really planned to put him to sleep but luckily the vets had some. He licked it greedily and usually the ferrets would lick more and more slowly and then stop. Skippy on the other hand licked very fast one second, and the next he stopped dead in his tracks. He was just gone from one split second to the next.
Well, Skippy's post mortem was strange. Considering he was supposed to have lymphoma we didn't really see evidence of it. Unless it was just or mainly in the spleen and lymph nodes. The spleen was huge, like more than doubled in size. Of course I never thought of cutting it to see what it looks like inside... He had lots of fat around his kidneys like is typical for ferrets on pred, and he had fat in his chest cavity but I didn't think it was bad enough to cause the problems breathing. His heart was dilated I think so I'm now wondering if his problems were heart related. But all ferrets I've had with dilative cardiomyopathy had fluid in the lungs and were coughing. And I wonder if the pred maybe caused it as the heart is a muscle and I had never seen such rapid loss of muscle mass? We may never know. I just know he was in a bad way and is not suffering anymore... Just a bit annoyed at myself for not asking for a pot for tissue samples to be sent away. But I thought we knew what we were dealing with and then found something different.
He had 5 minutes out in the garden on the Wednesday night, after dinner he wanted out so I put him on the floor and he walked to the back door so I let him out and he walked around, dooking. So he had 5 good minutes amongst the suffering.
Skippy happy times