Zeke the Ferret

And His Crappy Parents

Erik came home from work last night and Zeke and I were hanging out in his new ferret playroom, playing with all his new Christmas toys. He was hitting his ping pong tether ball and running away from it. I was throwing a stuffed monkey at him. He was hiding inside a big cardboard box full of bubble wrap (his fave). We were having a grand ole time and nothing is more grand for Zeke than when Erik comes home and joins in on the play. Suddenly I become a lot less fun. I've come to accept it and have happily settled for second place. However, I do constantly send Erik photo proof that when he ISN'T here, Zeke is happy to sleep beside MY desk chair and follows ME around all day.

Anyway. Erik came home and instead of joining in on the ruckus, he did the obligatory sneak up from behind and scare the bejeezus out of our poor deaf ferret and then sat on the carpet looking kind of bummed. When I asked him what was wrong, he said,

"Zeke's birthday was five days ago. He thinks we're the worst parents in the world."

And really, we are.

How sad for poor Zeke. We forgot his birthday entirely. His birthday, January 10, is actually the anniversary of when Erik took him home from the pet store. He was technically born in November, but he was the tiniest ferret baby and when Erik wanted to buy him, he had to wait a few weeks before they'd let him go.

Time to embarrass the ferret with baby photos!

2014-01-16_0001So tiny!

Who doesn't have to deal with a little embarrassment on their birthday... belated birthday...

You'll notice from the dates on these photos that this was January 2008. That makes Zeke over six years old. That means that not only is he an old man, but he and Erik have had a longer relationship than me and Erik. Sad, but true. Erik and I went to JMU together and one night at a party, he was telling me about his new ferret and how adorable he was. I had never seen a ferret who wasn't completely crazy nutso, so Erik asked if I wanted to help him give Zeke a bath. Not your typical pick up line, but it seemed to work out a lot better than the date he'd taken me on a year before that ;-)

Bath time!

Zeke is literally the sweetest ferret I've ever known. Okay, I haven't really known a lot of ferrets, but I usually don't like small animals like hamsters and guinea pigs and rabbits and things because they tend to get scared and try to bite you. I don't really blame them. Humans are scary. But Zeke has only bitten a person one time. And that was Erik on night one of their friendship. Erik heard strange noises in the middle of the night and stuck his hand into Zeke's cage to make sure he was okay. Low and behold, Zeke was eating and not anticipating a hand to interfere. Since then, he has never bitten or tried to bite anyone.

2014-01-16_0009

He's also amazingly smart. When we were in college, Erik was living with three other people and was worried about Zeke running around the apartment and getting hurt by someone not paying as much attention as Erik would be. So he trained Zeke not to go into the kitchen where he felt like things were most dangerous. Zeke would run up and down the doorway into the kitchen, knowing he couldn't go in there, but desperately wanting to.

Erik also managed to teach Zeke some sign language. Zeke is deaf (no, not all ferrets are, he was just born that way and Erik discovered he was deaf when Zeke was having too much fun playing on the running vacuum cleaner). We can make Zeke come to us with a simple hand command. Thank goodness because sometimes he hides away in some crazy locations that we can't reach and as long as I can throw something or hit the floor hard enough to wake him up, he'll come when he sees my hand gesture.

zeke the ferretSidenote: if you're a photographer and trying to nail focus, get a ferret and try to take pictures of him at f/1.4. Good luck.

So who is Zeke, six years later? Aside from an Instagram superstar... #zeketheferret you guys.

2014-01-16_0002Well, a Packers fan, obviously. No pictures of him in his Green Bay sweater because he doesn't actually like wearing it (since it was made for tiny dogs...), but it makes a swell pillow!

2014-01-16_0003A mighty warrior. Everyone knows that. You should see his war dance. Very intimidating.

2014-01-16_0004Erik's bestest little buddy.

2014-01-16_0006No really, that's probably #1. It is incredible how much they love each other.

2014-01-16_00132014-01-16_0011This is a nightly occurrence. I stay up reading while Erik falls asleep and then I put Zeke in his cage, so I don't have to sleep with a ferret. If I weren't around, they would do this all night. When I'm not home, they do. And when I get home, they say "boys rule!" and I put him back in his cage anyway.

2014-01-16_0005He loves me sometimes, too! :)

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Happy sixth birthday, little ferret! You've survived so much sickness and have been around so long, and you still bounce around like you're a baby! I never thought I'd love a pet so much and I definitely never thought it would be a ferret, but it's true. Zeke is a part of our little family and it's very comforting to have him sleep beside me while I'm at my computer all day :)