RIP Little Warrior

Okay. This is the saddest blog post to date and if you're not in the mood for that, you should just skip this one! For real. I know I'm going to cry when I write this. But this blog isn't just about my business. It's about my life. And my life changed on Monday.

If you have been following me online for oh I don't know, more than a week, you've encountered many a #zeketheferret post, picture, or video. Here's a fun post about Zeke's most recent birthday.

But on Monday, we lost our best little buddy. It's been a lot harder than I even expected. Everyone has always told me they pitied me when Erik lost Zeke because, duh, they're best buddies and Erik was going to be devastated. But I think it's hit us both extremely hard. The quietness at night when we're trying to sleep, the ping pong balls all over our house, all the little things we left on the floor just so he could play with it or sleep in it. We always keep our guest room closed off to Zeke because he was so determined to destroy the carpet in there, but when I went in that room Monday afternoon I realized I could leave the door open now and it was an awful feeling.

I'm going to explain what happened. It's not important, him being gone is all that matters, but a lot of people have been asking us and it gets painful to relive the story over and over again. So at least here I can do it once with a wall of computer between us.

Monday morning I got out of bed and Zeke was staring at me like he always does. Normally he bangs on the door to remind me to let him out, but sometimes he's patient. No banging this morning, so I opened the door, picked him up out of his little hammock, and put him on the floor. I restocked his food and water and headed off to get dressed.

When I came back, Zeke was still laying right where I left him. Sometimes he's really sleepy but even then he usually makes an adorable little effort to at least crawl over to a spot where he can plop down and watch me get ready. Today, obviously not. I picked him up and brought him downstairs with me and contacted Erik at work to tell him Zeke was acting really strange and I didn't like it. Erik said I should try to feed him, so I did. But he wouldn't eat or drink water held right in front of his face. I covered a piece of kibble with his FAVORITE treat (it's a liquid catnip-type thing called ferretone. Ferrets love it) and he wouldn't even open his mouth. He just lay there looking at me.

That's when I got really, really worried. That's also when Erik called me and I started crying and told him to come home, I was taking Zeke to the vet.

Even though Capital One just happened to be experiencing a mega computer crisis at the time this was all happening, Erik was able to get away and make it home in time to come with us to the vet. As soon as we arrived (way before our scheduld appointment), the receptionist took Zeke back to the doctor and they immediately started working on him.

His blood sugar was dangerously low. Considering that he'd been playing, eating, and drinking just the night before, this was a horrible sign of a very sick ferret. We hadn't just forgotten to feed him or anything, he was having serious internal problems. As if poor Zeke hasn't had enough illnesses to deal with (he had adrenal disease twice before this), now the vet said he had Insulinoma.

Our vet was very sweet and calm in explaining all the options. Option 1 was chemotherapy. Yes apparently they do this for ferrets, but we'd have to take him to a specialist, hours away, for expensive treatments that would make him sick for the next few months of his life, but wouldn't even cure him. Yeah, no. Option 2 was to give him steroids which would make him feel better, he might even get another week of pain-free playing and living. But it would end exactly where we were currently. It would just delay things. Option 3, of course, was to put him to sleep. 

I think it was obvious to us both which option was the best for Zeke. But it was still a really difficult choice to make. It was even more difficult to vocalize and we had the worst time doing it. Luckily, with the glucose treatment the vet did, Zeke was feeling much better and she was able to bring him in to us to say goodbye. His mouth was covered in sugary deliciousness and he seemed himself, just a little sleepy and extra cuddly. We held him and hugged him and cried. He shivered away from my cold hands like he always does and licked his daddy's fingers one more time and we said goodbye.

It's the end of an era for us. Zeke would have been seven this November. Erik got him a few months before we started dating and now three years into marriage, it makes no sense not to have him around. There are three of us in this house. Zeke's just always been around.

At the same time, I think Erik and I feel more connected than ever. Nobody else really understands. They understand loss of course, greater losses than this (I'm not trying to be dramatic or anything, I know there are far worse tragedies than losing a pet), but even the people who KNOW how hard it is to lose your pet, a valued member of your family... they don't know what it is to lose OUR pet. Nobody could. So we've leaned on each other. I've been amazed how when one of us gets upset, the other one stays strong for them. I guess it's a good sign for our lives that one of us can usually keep it together when neither of us wants to.

We're going to miss him so very much. The way he followed us around in the mornings as we got ready. Opening a door to find he's been sitting outside it just waiting for you the whole time. Sleeping in Erik's T shirts beside our desks while we worked and played. Licking the water off our feet after a shower. Romping around in the grass after it's just rained. There's too many things to list. But we're really going to miss him.

The other thing people have been asking is if we're going to get another ferret. The answer is a definitive no. For us, he's irreplaceable. And honestly right now I'm a little disappointed/angry with the ferret industry. All their inbreeding of ferrets is why they're so loaded with diseases. I have no idea if there's another way to do it, but it's a sad truth about all ferrets. No, no replacing Zeke, but we've talked in the past about getting a dog and I guess now we could. But that will still be a ways away. 

If the ramble didn't already tip you off, I kind of don't know how to end this post. So I think I'll just leave you with some favorite Zeke pictures. Because he's the best. And he lived a long, happy furret life.