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An Abandoned Ferret is Rescued by Two Big Hearts

Ferret sitting in a sweated
*The following tale was written by our client and friend, Jon A. Thank you, Jon, for sharing your story.

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On Thanksgiving Sunday, Oct. 13 2019 a kind-hearted gentleman, from Olds who is also a tow-truck driver, posted a message on the Ferret Rescue and Education Society – FRES – Facebook page that he had found an abandoned ferret needing urgent rescue.

Upon arriving at a service-call to remove an abandoned car he was surprised to find a sad and sick little ferret inside, no food or water and only a little grey Infant’s sweater to cuddle in and try to keep warm. He estimated the little one had been locked in the vehicle at least four or five days and had somehow miraculously survived.

As soon as the post showed upon the FRES page I felt impressed to message him directly to help save this forlorn and forsaken little spirit. I had no idea what age, sex or condition the little one was in, but I was committed to do my utmost to give him a chance at life that had so very nearly been snuffed out. We arranged to meet at the intersection South of Cremona to turn West to Water Valley about a two-hour round-trip from Calgary. I grabbed a pet carrier with a cozy ferret hammock, some ferret food and water and jumped in my car to make it there by the agreed meeting time.

As I came to the designated intersection I looked around and saw a friendly hand waving from a white pick-up truck a few hundred metres away. Upon rolling up I introduced myself and shook his hand and was instantly impressed with the glow of kindness this gentleman had around him. He said he didn’t know much about ferrets other than this dehydrated and hungry little one drank a lot of water, seemed to like cat-food and that his kids thought the ferret was quite nice. As he brought the ferret out to me I could see that the little one was still in no small distress. He was curled up in a ball in the corner of the carrier and looked heavily sad and shocked. He also handed me a plastic bag with his sweater inside which needed washing due to getting peed on during transport as sometimes happens with ferrets.

I removed the little ferret from his carrier and took a good look at him: He was a light coloured sable, incredibly skinny in the neck and extremities, but had a substantial tummy on him which I thought might indicate heart-disease or other troubles. His teeth seemed to indicate that he was around 5 years old, his fur was quite thin from untreated adrenal disease. He had hardly any muscle tone and didn’t smell very good either. I loaded him into my own carrier, gently tucked him into the hammock and gave him some bits of food which he ate readily. I again thanked the man from Olds for his kindness knowing the little one would not have survived without his attentive care and departed for home in Calgary. When I got the little one home I straight away gave him a shower, dried him off well, cleaned his dirty ears, clipped his badly overgrown claws and fed him by syringe some blended soup made with chicken hearts, livers, salmon-oil, warm water and kibble. He was such a docile little one, not making any fuss over anything my other two ferrets would immediately express displeasure over. He seemed to have pronounced weak hind-limbs and awkwardly paddled about about unlike my other two ferrets Oscar and June who are nimble mischief makers sometimes climbing up furniture to play the piano in my front-room and steal my hats from the front-hall closet baskets. As he trundled a few steps and then plopped down to rest, I could see he had difficulty keeping his little feet under him, especially on bare hardwood floors and tile. My guess was that little ‘Tater – as I decided to name him for his round tummy and limited mobility – had been housed in a small cage most of his life and his muscles were exceedingly weak. I was also struck with how dim the light was in his eyes and how he just looked so dejected and sad. Poor little fella needed all the armfuls of love he could get. Over the next days I attended to him closely, feeding often, offering water often and helping him to use the puppy pads for his bathroom breaks. ‘Tater was so weak that he was having trouble keeping his tummy out of the urine and his poops smelled horrendous, so I’d help him bathroom and then give him a gentle tummy, feet and tail cleaning with a warm washcloth which he seemed to enjoy. I made an appointment with Healthy Paws Forward as soon as I could, as Dr. Shelby Kimura is my favourite ferret vet of all-time, and she has saved the lives of more than a few of my ferrets over the years. She is hands-down the best. She examined little ‘Tater, checked for lumps and bumps, ran blood glucose which thankfully came back normal. She also gave ‘Tater Deslorelin and Melatonin implants to begin treating the devastating effects of the adrenal disease which was ravaging his little body. Little fella had been through the wringer and almost didn’t make it out alive, but at least now there is hopeful light at the end of the tunnel and a much greater chance for a happier, comfortable existence for ‘Tater as he lives out the rest of his days with me in his forever home. I’m also excited for the implants to start working to see if he can grow back in some of the fur which he has lost due to his adrenal disease going untreated so long. It looks like the worst of the adrenal issues have subsided somewhat. ‘Tater is still in recovery and will always have some challenges and discomfort as we all do, but he seems to be a little happier every day, which is all I want and which is such a gift. We never know of a certainty with ferrets, but I’m so grateful that his eyes again have the light of life coming back to them where they were so dull and dim before. ‘Tater also seems to be able to move around a little better each day and even follows me around the house just a little bit when he’s not sleeping – which is most of the time. But he is lovely placid company, seems to enjoy be held and fed and cuddled. Even at this moment I have my hand on his warm little tummy as he sleeps in a little fuzzy ferret bed beside me.

Life has hope again for ‘Tater and my heart is full of thanks for the kindnesses of the man from Olds and his family and everyone at Healthy Paws Forward Vet Hospital – especially Dr. Shelby and her lovely staff. Life can be so very difficult. Kindness is the only real answer to make it beautiful again.

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