When I was a young girl, a very kind lady I've known all my life introduced me to a fascinating creature: a ferret.
I remember that the ferret had been sleeping in an old t-shirt in its cage. I thought the cage was empty, until suddenly, this strange little creature popped it's head out of the t-shirt and looked right at me with the utmost curiosity. I froze where I was at, and I must have screamed, because the ferret disappeared back into his t-shirt and the kind lady came to my aid in a hurry "It's called a ferret, darling." she explained with a smile "Would you like to hold it?" she asked. Of course, I said yes. The moment she put the long, furry creature into my small hands, I was in love. I wanted one.
Years later, my parents were still not sold on my having a ferret. They thought it was a rodent (which it is not, by the way.... daddy, I'm talking to YOU.), and rodents are not allowed in our house (we have field mice visiting our house all the time, after all). So, I contented myself with taking my desire to the one person I could always rely on: God. I told Him very often how much I liked ferrets, and how I would like to have one some day. He must have heard me, because I did end up with one.
In 2009, my sister and I went to the local pet shelter to turn in some stray dogs. While we were there, I noticed a small cage with two ferrets in it. One, a big one, was the acclaimed mascot of the shelter. The other one was small and younger, and had been found wandering the streets. One of the managers at the shelter, a sweet old gentleman, was celebrating his 80th birthday that day. His grin was quite large as he pulled the small ferret from the cage and said "Today is my birthday, and I want to give you a present!" and he handed the ferret over.
No, it wasn't proper procedure, but it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, and I will never forget it.
From that time on, Popi (poe-pee) lived with our family. The vet guessed her to be a little over a year old when she was given to me, which would've made her about 6ish years old this year. That is a very ripe age for a ferret, considering most don't live past that age.
In the past, Popi was always a very active little girl. She could play outside in my flowerbeds for hours, and would never hold still for pictures. She would hunt mice and tarantulas (shudder), and could take a full grown Golden Retriever down to the ground! She was feisty and full of fight! Over the first few months of this year, however, Popi had begun to show her age. She was moving slow and tired easily. Her appetite came and went, and she had several fainting spells and a couple of seizures if she stressed too much. I knew that her time was growing very short.
On May 16th, Popi was feeling active and lively, so I said to myself "While she's feeling good, you should get some decent photos of her..." With the help of the kids, I laid out a nice blanket on the couch, grabbed my camera, gave Popi some treats, and took some pictures of her. She actually posed for me a couple of times! I was so happy. I knew that, if she were to pass away that night, I would have a couple of good pictures to remember her by.
On June 14th, 2014, before 10AM, my dear little Popi passed away quietly. I miss her very much.