Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Pretty Little Devil

Climb, She-She, climb!
We’re on vacation, so I don’t have any photos to share right now. But I wanted to write a little about She-Devil, our ferret who we lost a couple days ago.

She was a pretty little sable ferret, who we called “the beautiful lady.” (Or climby-girl, because of her high-altitude exploits. Or slinky-girl, because of the way she'd positively ooze herself out of the ferret bed, like one of Dali's melted clocks.) We got her several years ago, along with Gus, Blink and the Dude, from neighbors of friends, who found them too much to handle. And they were a handful, to be sure.

I always had trouble telling Blink apart from She-Devil. They were both sables, but Blink was a little smaller and lighter than She, and had a different coloration on her nose. They were so similar, in fact, that after Blink passed away, I sometimes imagined that we’d gotten the IDs wrong, and thought that Blink was adjusting to her new life getting called She-Devil.

She-Devil and me
But no, She-Devil was all she-devil -- in causing trouble, at least, though not in temperament. She regularly climbed up the outside of her cage, King Kong style, and then would peer over the gate that sealed off the family room, and drop the two and a half feet into the kitchen when we weren’t looking. Then, she could explore. She loved to explore, walking around not only the first floor, but climbing the stairs to the second floor so she could sneak around the office and our bedroom as well.

In later years, she gradually lost her sight completely. This did not deter her in the least. She’d climb, look around the corner, and drop into the dark, trusting that the kitchen floor would catch her. The only concession to her blindness was that, when she would leave her cage, she would walk the perimeter of our family room to make sure everything was where she expected it to be.

The Fab Four, piled behind a speaker in early days
I always worried about She-Devil. Part of that was that she was the oldest of our ferrets, and I think part had to do with the way Blink passed away. Blink got really sick, really quickly. One night, we noticed she wasn’t well, and resolved to take her to the vet the next morning. When I woke up to check on her, she was already beyond any help. There was nothing we could do.

She-Devil somehow spared us that. There was no feeling of helplessness with her; we were on vacation, but even our niece, who was ferret sitting for us, says that she just walked into her room to check on them, and She-Devil didn’t move. No prolonged illness; she just stopped.

She-Devil and Gus
Or that’s what it seems like to us, from the outside. Earlier in the year, She-Devil had a growth on the side of her face. The doctor said it wasn’t any trouble unless it interfered with her eating, but he could remove it if we liked. We’d worried about invasive surgery, so we didn’t opt to remove it until it grew to be about the size of a raspberry – it was like she was growing a second head. A couple of months ago, we removed it, and then a few weeks ago her stitches fell out. She was growing fur back in the places on her neck the doctor had needed to shave for surgery. For the first time in months, she looked truly healthy.

And somehow, the whole episode let me finally let go of the worry I’d always harbored. She seemed happy and well at last, and that’s how I’ll remember her. A dedicated escape artist, and a clever, brave girl who would kiss me on the nose a little almost every day.

We’ll miss you, She-She.


UPDATE: As you can see, I've added some photos of She-Devil and her friends. Here are also a couple links to some of her greatest hits.

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