My heart is breaking this morning as I write this. My dear, precious Precious is no more. I know I was posting pictures of things I am thankful for, and I keep reminding myself of my post about believing that God is good even when I don't see the bread--but it is hard to feel right now. I know He is good; I believe He is good; that will have to do for now.
The Friday before I left for Texas, Precious got deathly ill. She came looking for me and just wanted to be held. I held her all weekend with a heating pad, nursing her as best I could, expecting she would die at any time. On Monday I took her to Dr. Keller, who diagnosed her with insulinoma and gastroenteritis. He kept her three days in the animal hospital and finally let her come home Wednesday night, right before I had to leave for Texas. I was terribly worried about how she would do while I was gone, but Dr. Keller said the stress of the trip could kill her, so I left her in Herb's care. She needed frequent feedings of high-calorie supplement, the only thing she would eat, and only when it was pushed on her nose so she was forced to lick it off. Then Herb got very ill with the flu, and my dear nephew Thomas took over the duty of force-feeding Precious. To my astonishment, when I got home 8 days later, she was still alive--barely. She had lost a total of 8 oz. of her 1 1/2 lb. weight, and she looked like death warmed over. But Kara said she had seen Precious eat real food the day before, and as soon as I made her some, she ate it. She continued to eat over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday--still so thin, but getting more lively. This morning she actually got out and ran around the house and interacted with the dogs.
Then at bedtime tonight, I couldn't find her. I expected her to be in her cage, as she has slept there for the past several months. When she wasn't there, I checked all her old hidey-holes, to no avail. While I looked in vain for her in her special drawer under the washing machine, I decided to transfer the last load of laundry to the dryer. And there was my darling Precious, dead in the washing machine. She must have taken a nap in the laundry on the floor, and I never felt her slight weight as I put it in the machine. I am beside myself with grief as I think of how she died, at my own hands. Now you understand why I'm struggling right now. How can I make sense of my poor baby's suffering? Why couldn't she have died in my arms two weeks ago, or quietly gone to sleep in her cage one night? I know that if she had died while I was in Texas, I would have felt I could never forgive myself for abandoning her--but now I truly feel that way.
Precious was my first ferret and my faithful friend. She would always come when I called; she was always ready for a cuddle or a game, even if I woke her up by pulling her out of her warm bed. On the occasions she managed to hide in our room before we went to bed, she always came to me in the middle of the night and put her nose on my face to be sure I was there, then went back to bed. She assiduously collected soft grip pens and any brand of (unused) sanitary pads. She loved to jump and play on and under the sheets when I made the bed, and she played hide-and-seek with me, popping out when I would ask, "Where's Precious?" She was a true ambassador for ferrets, as everyone who met her loved her--even people who thought they didn't like ferrets. I will miss her more than words can say.
(The top picture was taken in 2006, the bottom two in 2005)