Thursday, July 24, 2014
Ragnar lived a full life.
In 2007 , my son and daughter were living in Jacksonville, Florida. They had an apartment near the river. One hot summer day, the Mexican gardener came up to my son and said that he had found an injured animal in the garden. The man knew that my daughter took care of animals and wanted her to help this one. But, my son told him that he was not interested in any more animals. When my son got back to the apartment, he mentioned it to my daughter and she immediately went down and got the animal from the kind soul who was still trying to get some help for it.
The individual in need was a ferret. He had been out in the sun, and was hideously sun burned. He was badly dehydrated and his ribs were showing through his coat. Whoever had dumped him off hadn't been feeding him for awhile before they did so.
She got him nursed back to health, and it was our first experience with ferrets. Shortly thereafter, she got another ferret from an animal shelter. They were about to kill him because they didn't keep ferrets.
That's how Ragnar and Faye joined the family.
When my kids moved a couple of years later, I took the ferrets. They were perfect for this environment. Both of them were clean, didn't make a mess, and had tremendous personalities. They were grateful for any little thing you did for them, and never missed a chance to show it. Both ferrets liked to climb up on the couch and watch television with me, and on cold winter nights they'd come get on the bed and curl up in their fluff blanket.
I enjoyed them so much that I started taking other ferrets that needed a home. Some were just old and the people who owned them didn't want to pay their medical bills anymore. Some were being cast off because the owners were moving and couldn't take them to the new place. Some were simply abandoned. I had seven at one point and we all got along fine.
Then , about two years ago, Faye got sick. The vet told me that there was little chance of recovery, that it was a respiratory problem they couldn't treat. Rather than letting Faye go, I bought expensive medicine that the vet said might help. As a result, the ferret lingered in misery for three more days before dying in the middle of the night. I wanted to be sure that we took every chance to heal Faye, but instead the poor ferret suffered needlessly because of my decision.
Today, when I got down to the exotic pet specialist, Ragnar was in a very bad way. He'd only been able to take a little paste and oil mixed with water for two days. She examined him, and said he had a massive tumor in his throat. She said it was hopeless. I asked her if there was nothing that could be done, and she said they could remove his teeth, and part of his jaw, and cut out as much as they could of the tumor, then set him up with chemotherapy.
I personally made the decision for myself some time ago that I would not go through all that if I got cancer. I felt like it was the same decision Ragnar would have made if he had been able to. He'd been through enough pain already.
I honestly think he knew he was passing, because as weak as he was he crawled up off the examination table and climbed up my shirt. It took tremendous effort.
I told the doctor to help him on his way, but I didn't stay inside. I went outside until he was ready to go home. As I always do when one of the ferrets dies, I fixed him a nice place up on the top of the meadow, with all his favorite personal possessions, some shiny coins and costume jewelry and a few of his toys.
I will really miss him. He had a wonderful personality, and really added a lot to life up here on this mountain. It will not be the same without him. But it was good having him here and I appreciate the time I got to enjoy his company.