Thursday, December 11, 2008


I don't know what possessed us (probably my desire to have children ha ha), but our second year in college, as if we didn't have enough to do and take care of, J and I made a decision to buy a ferret, a sable one, similar to the one in the picture. We named her Shasta, because on the ride home from San Antonio to get her, she drank soda out of my hand. I have many memories of this animal, some hysterical, some not so funny. I remember how we used to set her on the dashboard of the car, and she used to "chase" the windshield wipers and how people in other cars would stare at us because they had no clue what that animal in the window could be. We used to stop at rest areas and show her off. Many people had never heard of a ferret before. She used to jump up and catch the curly telephone cord in her teeth and hang on for dear life as she bounced up and down in the air. She would push aerosol can lids all over the kitchen floor with her nose like a hockey puck. She would bounce around the room and chatter at us when she was playing or angry. One thing she never was was affectionate. We bought her from a breeder, and in those days you were expected to hand tame your ferret yourself without training. There really were not even any ferret books to refer to. She would bite us sometimes and draw blood, and almost always would bite strangers.

I remember one night, J and I went to the HEB (I may have posted this before) and bought two items: one bottle of pink champagne and a banana. It wasn't until we were standing in the checkout line that we figured out how obscene we probably looked. The banana was for the ferret. She would eat the banana so that we could keep her still long enough to clip her nails.

Or there is the time that she was spending an incredible amount of time in our closet, sleeping in the bag of stuffed animals. One night I heard scratching in the closet, and Shasta was NOT in there. I don't think J believed me. Fast forward a few days, and we BOTH heard the scratching! Again, Shasta was NOT in there. We opened the closet door, and hanging upside down from one of the clothes hangers was a baby possum. I think I almost peed in my pants. I swear that thing hissed at me. Shasta had been hanging out in the closet with the possum.

So we (probably J) goes next door (we are out in the country and neighbors are a bunch of rednecks) and gets the neighbor, who probably wanted to bring his gun. He ended up chasing the possum all over our trailer. It went up and down the legs of our kitchen table at one point, did its fake fainting froth at the mouth routine. He ended up beating it to death with a stick. Now, ferrets, at that time at least, were not allowed to get rabies shots so that's why we had the possum killed. We had to send "the body" to a university for rabies testing, but this was a Friday night, and my parents were coming the next day. What to do with "the body"? We put it in the freezer, of course, and I was just praying that my parents would have no reason to enter said freezer.

When Shasta was about six months old, she went into heat, which is unusual for a ferret. But we found out later that when a ferret's days become longer than its nights, it goes into heat. We had been keeping a light on her cage all this time to keep her warm at night, so she was fooled into going into heat. Ferrets can get cancer if they are not bred after going into heat, so we decided to get her spayed. We drove all the way to San Antonio to one of the only vets who would spay ferrets, dropped her off, picked her up the next day. About five days later, it was time to get her stitches out, and for some reason it appeared that she was in heat again. Drove all the way back to San Antonio. I will never forget the lady saying, "Is this the ferret that we spayed or descented?" We said, "spayed." She said, "Then why are this ferret's stitches in her butt?" Oh, man... they had descented her, not spayed her. So we go through this whole thing about how she was supposed to be spayed, not descented, and we are college students and don't have the money to spay her, plus it was THEIR fault, and she would have to go under anaesthesia again, poor thing, and that they should spay her for free. Well, that vet knew that he was about the only vet around for a long distance who even spayed ferrets, so he made us pay half of the spaying. We probably had to borrow that money or eat very little for awhile. Anyway, it all worked out in the "end." Ha ha.

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