When to say When …..
Preparing for your ferret’s final journey
While this is not new information, sometimes it helps to hear it from someone else who isn't
as emotional as the caregiver who loves them so much & wrestling with such an important decision. This advice more applies to caring for a hospice ferret and not an unexpected
urgent medical emergency.
For your beloved ferret as with any loved creature, your awareness of the end drawing near has been heightened, there is no one more in tuned with your ferret and their needs more than the one that loves them the most. In your heart you know that no matter how much love and supportive care you give him that someday soon it will be "the time".
Some people believe that you should go on and on until your ferret can go on no more. I too used to be of that mind, not wanting to take a day or an hour or a moment away from them. After running a shelter for many years and having to make emotional decisions, dealing with crashes and urgencies in the middle of the night, Sundays, holidays or other times when my regular vet wasn't available. I was given these words of wisdom which I share with you.
Don't look at this as taking time away from them, look at this as making their time comfortable, non-stressful & honoring them by releasing them before it gets to the point that they are in pain or in crisis. When the end is drawing near and you know your ferret has one or more medical issues of which there will be no miracle cure you have the ability to bring them relief through release. Do not wait until there is only a dim light in their eye nor maintain them making them linger. There is a difference between living as a ferret and merely being alive.
Pick a day when you can see your regular vet, the one your ferret is used to seeing. Discuss how you want things to be handled and what type of medication will be given and in what method. Let them know that you want to be with your ferret (don't let them take him in another room away from you, ask to be there with them.) Deciding what arrangement you want to make for them afterwards (are you taking them home to make a special resting place, do you want to arrange cremation, what else is your preference?) Decide if you want to have someone accompany you, drive there & where you will go afterwards. Be sure to plan sometime to grieve & reflect. (There's nothing worse than having to make handle an urgent situation and have to go back to work).
Cry or do whatever you need to, anything you do is the right thing for you.
In the day preceding & the day of, take all the extra time with them, talk to them, cry to them, tell them all the things that they need to hear, how wonderful your life has been with them and how much you are the better for knowing them. Let them have special time with their ferret buddies over a nice bowl of soup, a bit of ferretone or anything else that they enjoy. At the appointed time, gather the special blankies, toys or things that they like, bring them outside to smell the fresh air and look to the sky for the beginning of the journey. At the vets most have a quiet room. Depending on how you prefer things or how your vet does things you may have discussed a method that you prefer (ask for options, perhaps a tiny abdominal injection, a bit of gas with ferretone in the mask
to relax them, certainly not a heart stick).
Hug your ferret and whisper sweet things to them, tell them how you will miss them, where they are going and who they will see there. The last things that they experience should be comfort, warmth and your whisper in their ears. Let them slowly drift away in your arms. Take a few minutes after to stroke their fur, hug them and kiss them if you wish. Afterwards wrap them gently in the special blankie and add their toy or special snack. If you are bringing them home with you, some believe it gives their buddies closure to sniff them and realize that they are gone. Some prefer not to do this, whatever you do is the right thing for you. If you have arranged for a cremation, either you may call or have your vet call to arrange this.
Take time to grieve. You are honoring your ferret by doing this & handling the emotions that come with heartache. Some people go home & hug their other ferrets, some call a ferret friend to talk, reflect and grieve, some go for a walk, some pray. Whatever you do or don't do is the right thing for you.
After a time the sharpness of the pain will dull, it won't hurt every single minute, then it won't hurt every single hour, then it won't hurt every single day. Then something will remind you of them, maybe a flash across the room and you swear you saw them, maybe something will remind you of a cute thing they used to do, it's ok to smile and laugh with tears in your eyes.
Remember this ferret came to you to teach you something, to love them and to help another ferret. Some people prefer to just love their remaining ferrets, some like to adopt a ferret from a shelter that deserves a wonderful mom or dad like you. These are my favorite people!
Hope this information helps or just reinforces what we already know.
If you would like some help with your decision, to talk to someone, or to honor your ferret as a “Forget Me Not” on our website, please feel free to contact us.
Diane Wall at South Shore Ferret Care (781) 249-4628