12/09/2013 by syrbal-labrys
This is Candy, snuggled last night into a fold of my sweater. We have been struggling to keep her alive since Thanksgiving. The Wednesday before was the last day I saw her eating normally, so she had two vet visits in the week that followed for diagnostic work and more was scheduled for Thursday this week to put her under and take some needle biopsies. But I had to keep her alive that long, and I failed.
In spite of syringing liquid food into her several times a day, she sank lower. She felt a bit heavier, as though she was not losing more weight, but she felt worse. I began giving her pain killers from the vet’s on Saturday and for a day I was optimistic that she felt better. But by Sunday night, when I fed her, she ground her teeth in pain. I stopped and just snuggled her in my sweater.
If left to her own devices, loose in the room, she staggered around finding her favorite toys and treats that she did not eat and secreted them away in her favorite cache spots. Ferrets don’t know how to quit you see; even at the extreme edge they act just like the wild sprites of the wood that they resemble. They are the epitome of living fast and large.
But this morning a bit after 0330, getting up to offer warm liquid food, I found her sprawled in the isolation cage, limp in death. I had just missed her passing, there was no rigor yet. I curled her into a chocolate-brown velvet scarf with her favorite toy — a tiny stuffed”Tigger.” Hours later, at dawn, the Minotaur dug a hole in the frozen ground at the corner of the Labyrinth and we put her away, with violets plucked from the houseplants sprinkled atop her cold-as-the-ground body.
I only had her a bit over 18 months, she was one of the last rescues brought to me, and until this final crisis, the picture of health. They are such vibrant little creatures that death seems impossible until the still form is in your arms; her cage mate, Farley, is searching the house for her this morning and that makes me cry anew. Pets are so hard to lose, there is never any of the human relationship ambivalence — with animals, it was all delight and joy; and then suddenly all gone at once.
I don’t really know whether there is any sort of afterlife; I consider that unknowable and used to rather hope there was the certainty of nothing. If humans all thought “this” was “it” maybe we could stop being such namby-pamby twits and get on with going 100% for the duration, you know? Like the ferrets! But if I could choose an afterlife, keep those pink clouds, and give me the woods with all the little ferrets I’ve put in the ground. All running, bouncing, pouncing and playing at my heels in a spring of wild violets…
(And let me mention briefly, now that I need a distraction so my eyes can quit flooding my face…how MUCH more television sucks in December than at any other time of year. 😦 I mean, really.)