Our good buddy—Gus, Mister Gus, Guster, the Bumble, Sweet Kisses—is gone.
This little white ferret lived a good life with us, entering our house with his three pals, Blink, the Dude, and She-Devil, eventually outlasting them all. For the last year or so of his life, he was a solo ferret, and a very good one. Being a ferret was what he loved, and he did it with pride.
Of course, he was a little OCD. That comes from being a ferret, I think. (I was going to say "anal," but that just brought memories of this.) There were a number of items that he obsessed about. He had a toy shaped like a jack that he tried to pull into a hanging hammock tube. He’d carry it in his teeth from the bottom of the cage to the top, rest it on the platform, climb into the tube and pull it. It was too big to get in, but he spent a lot of time trying. (And at one point, he even succeeded, bringing the jack through a slit at the top! A proud day.)
Then there were the jingle balls. They needed to go in the corner, in a little nook between the CD racks. We could shake the little balls and send them rolling around the room, and he’d unfailingly bring them to where he could keep an eye on them.
We miss him something terrible. There hasn’t been a day I’ve woken up since he died that I hadn’t had to work to pull myself out of bed, aware that I wouldn’t be able to get a hug from Gus once I made it downstairs. Just the same, I’m glad we had so much time with him… most likely, extra time. Last year he was pretty sick. He’d lost all the hair on his body (only his head was spared), due to symptoms from insulinoma. I worried about him every day. But our vet gave him an experimental treatment, an implant that would treat the disease. Soon, Gus was starting to grow hair again, and was certainly feeling better, too.
He had a theme song, of course:
Mister Gus! Mister Gus!
I don’t wanna cause a fuss!
But you’re so cute! You’re so cute!
In your little ferret suit!
You’re so nice! You’re so nice!
I’ll freeze you in a block of ice!
And thaw you out when it’s time!
You’ll see the future, blow your mind!
(This was usually sung in several verses, some in Spanglish--“en tu pequeno ferret suit”--some with a Transylvanian accent, and so on. I’m not sure if he ever got the Captain America allusion.)
This last month or so, he started to lose strength in his hind legs. It went from a little wobble now and then to him not being able to count on them at all in a matter of weeks. We were giving him medicine to deal with the problem, but it wasn’t helping. And eventually, Gus decided he’d had enough. He started refusing all food, like it was medicine. We used a syringe to get some food into him for a little while, but eventually decided that he knew his body best, and was making a deliberate decision.
Oh, hell. All pet stories end the same, if you go on long enough. You don’t need to hear this, and I don’t want to tell anymore. What matters is this little fuzzy, fussy white guy brought a lot of love into our life, and I still can’t believe he’s gone.