Irwin’s Tail by Kerry P.

Irwin’s Tail

I apologize for the pun, I don’t claim responsibility for it.  I found this tale fully formed in my head.  I think a mischievous little fella must have stashed it there before he scampered off across the rainbow bridge.  He knew I’d be needing it.

Our ferrets Loki and Selene have little stubs of tails. Their momma thought they were too perfect so she cleaned a little off the ends so as not to overwhelm us.  Our foster ferret Sophie has a fuzzy little tail that spikes out like a pipe cleaner when she gets excited, which seems to be the majority of the time.  It is the perfect tail for her fuzzy little body.

Our other foster Irwin had a scrawny tail.  It was a perfect match for his scrawny little body which nicely offset the most handsome little face that ever sat atop a ferret’s neck.

Each of them is the best ferret ever.  Logic dictates that this isn’t possible but they exist within the domain of ferret math which doesn’t give a toss about logic!

Irwin and Sophie didn’t get along with other ferrets, Loki and Selene included.  They each knew the other was the perfect amount of ferret and they must have thought it selfish to require any additional company.  We tried to merge the two pairs into one happy business but they were not having it.  Others had tried before with equal results.  They had a good life at the shelter but luckily their shelter momma Deb in her wisdom decided we were worthy of their love despite our relative lack of experience.

The two pairs carved out a piece of my heart and each ferret nabbed their own half of that.  Through the magic of ferret math, each one ended up with the whole damn thing!

It is a lot of work juggling ferrets but we managed, gating off one pair and swapping them now and then to keep things interesting.   Add in our crazy cat Luna and it can be utter madness.  Every second has been worth the effort.

We lost Irwin today to liver cancer.  He would have suffered through the pain to keep sharing his love with us and his girl but we could not ask any more of him.  He lived his life to the end with a joy only a ferret or someone touched by the love of a ferret could know.  In the end we took on some pain so we could release him from his.  We will never replace him in his girl Sophie’s heart but I hope we can ease her pain by giving her some of the love he stashed in our hearts.

I’m not writing this to share my sadness.  Irwin left a ferret-shaped hole in my heart which will never disappear but he filled my heart to overflowing with love before he left.  In time,  the sadness will fade and I will have the memories to keep me going.  At the height of my pain I wished we had never taken him in so I would not have to feel this way but I know I would be the poorer for never having known him.

Irwin left an itch in my brain so I would scratch it out into this story.  Sometimes the perfect ferret is the one quietly waiting in the back of the shelter for someone to realize they need him more than anything in the world.  They might have a stub of a tail or they may need a little bit of extra care and attention but they will pay that back a hundred times over.


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