Lady's heart belongs to "O"
November 30, 2013
Our Owl, our Marvelous, Magical "O", left the Lady Morgan and I yesterday. Our hearts are quite broken but we know that his "heart and his head went to live with God so he will remember us and love us always."
So Morgan, my year and almost a half old grand niece, met the ferrets today for the first time.

Originally she thought she'd like Atani, the 5 month old Aussie pup, but Atani liked her a little too much. Then she spotted Lovey trying to get out the sliding glass door to join us in the back yard. So I picked up Lovey and handed her to Darin, Morgan’s 12 yr old brother. Morgan had to have her and the affair began.

Of course big brother being 3rd generation ferret wrangler was more than capable of maintaining order and safety. First thing he did was take off Morgan's shoes when we got back inside, then he started showing her all the fun things playing with a ferret could be. Spinner ball, tubes, weasel war dance, the gambit. But then............ then the large paper grocery bag full of paper laying on the kitchen floor began to move . . .. and shake . . . . . and wiggle . . . . and rattle..... Morgan hollered for Darin and beat feet back into the living room. That sack was alive and obviously hostile! Big brother took her back into the kitchen and while she watched with widening eyes, ‘big brothers are SO brave!’ he pulled a ferret from the bag. She of course ran up and grabbed the ferret. They are now her all time favorite friends.

Despite the ferret being pulled from the bag and the bag monster being summarily dispatched and not moving any more, she never did trust that bag and would skirt it for the rest of the night.

Fish are interesting, Atani was soft, but ferrets are the best thing at B's house (and there is a LOT of stuff there) especially with big brother backing you up!

Oh and don't tell Mom, but ferret food ain't half bad either!
The Lady's Heart belongs to "O"

Morgan is not quite 2 yr old now. I don't get to see her often, but occasionally I'll bump into her visiting other family members or at a store. Even though she is not yet litter box trained, sorry that's an inside joke, I'll grab her and steal her for a little bit. Tonight I stole her for a couple of hours.

The first time she visited us at home she came over with the rest of her family, Mom, Dad, and Big Brother Darin to meet the new puppy, Atani. That was very exciting, but equally unnerving. She loved Marvin, but her heart was stolen by the ferrets. Tonight it was stolen by a ferret - Owl.

We started out meeting Sugar who loves her humans, but she's real low key. We moved up to Lovey, who lives up to her name in every way but who was still a little too sedate, and Beethoven. 'Tovan was tons of fun because he bounces, runs, jumps and weasel war dances the way a ferret should, just a little too well. He got claps of the hands, ouuussss and ahhhhhhs, copious amounts of giggles and out right laughs. Of course he wore out before she did.

Moving right along to the next group; Moose, Bonwhin and Owl. Morgan spotted Owl before I even had the gate open for him to come out. She couldn't make a whole word, not even an Ouuu. The mouth was open, the eyes were wide, and the finger was pointing. You could tell she was smitten. Owl is currently wearing his winter coat, thick, fluffy, and a completely different colour than anyone else in the house. "Kitty?" "No, fer-rat." "Kitty?" "No, Owl." "Ohhhhhhhh. Kitty." "No, Ferrr-rrrat". And off down the hall we all went.

Where she'd been vocal and animated with the other ferrets, she just followed him around. I picked him up and tried to hand him to her, she'd refused to even touch the others. Very tentatively she took him. "Ouuuu." Then she handed him right back. "Kitty?" "No, ferret". You could see her trying to process as they left the kitchen together.

We sat on the living room floor and played ferret games for a few minutes until Bonwhin came in and ordered room service. Bonwhin never asks for anything, she demands. "Kitty?" "Bonwhin". She looked at Owl with confusion. I knew what she was thinking - these kitties have an awful lot of names. It took no convincing just a kitchen chair pulled up to the kitchen sink for her to make soup for her new friends. Together we carefully set the saucer on the floor in front of Bon. "Where's Owl? Don't you think he'll want soup too?" The face said "Oh my gosh" but what came out as she shuffled into the living room to find him was "O! O!" She can't quite say "Owl", it comes out missing a few fundamentals, but every one in the room knew who she was looking for, including "O!"

For the rest of the night, it was "O this and O that", follow him around, telling him her life story, discussing the advantages of furry ferret toys vs. tennis balls, which foods might be best and all the important things a young lady discusses with her new love. When Daddy, Momma and Brother came by to get her, they too had to be shown the incredible "O" and his uniqueness impressed upon them. Big Brother could play with any one and any thing in the house, Daddy and Momma could hold the others, but Morgan only has eyes for Owl.

Clearly, the Lady's heart belongs to "O".
October 31, 2011
All Hallows Eve 2011
It’s a year to the day and now she’s two
She looks all around, oh what’s a Lady to do?
She’s clearly at B’s house, that much is true,
But something is missing, Oh what shall she do?
She looks up at B, hope in her eyes,
And murmurs quite softly, wanting no surprise.
She knows he’s here somewhere, her little heart flies,
The little lip trembles, please B, don’t let him hide.
A single syllable, so softly said,
Oh please B, tell her he’s only in bed.
B opens the door, she rushes inside,
Oh please let her find the light of her life.
She runs down the hall, that single note rings,
She stops at his door, her little heart sings!
There standing and waiting, hearing her cry,
Stands an Owl faced ferret, a light in his eyes.
I open the gate, she bolts inside,
He reaches for her, she scoops his ferrety hide.
Its still clear as can be and you can see it is so,
Everyone knows the Lady prefers O!
 

Christmas 2011
I hadn't quite finished eating my Christmas dinner when my 2 yr old grand niece, Morgan, came up to me. "We go you house?". The camper is my house when we are away from home. "Sure honey we can go to my house, can I finish my dinner?" "No. We go you house." "Now?" "We go." Okay, I guess I'm done. I'd wondered all after noon how long it would be before she and I made this tri...p, I guess it had been long enough.

It was already dark, there are no lights out here in Nowhere Arizona so dark is really dark and its cold. On went coats and shoes, too slowly I might mention, and out we went. Each horse we passed on the way was greeted by name and a "hi", but we didn't slow down. Morgan was on a mission. Up the hill between Grandma's and Aunt Robin's where B's house is, those little feet trekked, each step set with determination. "We go you house." "Yep honey, we're going".

We got to the top of the hill and she spotted the trailer sitting in the dark. "You house." "Yep, my house". Like an arrow fired true she led us. "You house," a statement of fact made looking up at the door as I unlocked and opened it, turned on the light and then helped her up the step. She didn't say another word, just tossed off her coat and went to pulling on her boots trying to get them off all the while looking around, searching. "He's here honey, just let me help you with your boots." Jaw set, patience starting to run short, it was a long walk after all, the eyes still darting around.

Finally the shoes are off and she can begin to search, but she doesn't. She just stands there.......... "He's here honey, I promise." She glances up at me looking for reassurance, she hasn't seen a single one, no one is moving, everyone is curled into beds or blankets sleeping. She looks around again very slowly this time and very softly . . ."O?". Tears brim my eyes. She so loves that ferret. "Do you want me to help you find him?" Still no words, just a quick nod. I lift her up over the barrier, set her on his side of the room and point to a lump in a blanket. She looks up at me instead of at the lump. "O?" "He's in there honey". She bends down, carefully pulls the blanket aside and starts giggling. "O!". Awaken he looks around over his shoulder a gleam in his eye. She picks him up, rubs him against her face and neck hugging him, giggling the whole time. "O!".

Eventually she puts him down and picks up each of the others for a hug and some play but her eyes are never far from his and at the end of the night, he is the last one to be put back to bed and covered up with a much softer, "O".

Isn't Christmas about love? "O" I think it is.
February 2013
Morgan came by for a visit tonight. Daddy had chores that needed done and Momma was busy with little brother, so a visit with B seemed like the perfect idea.

When you walk into B’s house first thing you do is take off your shoes so you do...n’t step on anybody. Every Ferret Wrangler knows that to be so and Morgan is no exception. Shoes off she begins to wrangle. ‘B where’s O?’ ‘He’s sleeping some where honey, you just have to find him.’ She came back giggling a few minutes later, Owl in arms being followed by Bonwhin. ‘B where’s the rest?’ ‘Well honey there’s only Smokin’, I’ll go get her.’ ‘Is that all?’ ‘Yes honey that’s all.’ ‘But B, where’s the rest?’ A fist clinches around my heart. Morgan is 3rd generation Ferret Wrangler and in all that time there have been 18 ferrets, 18 sick ferrets, give or take, in this house. How can I explain The Virus? Something so new it only exists in this house, so fatal and so horrendous we no longer take in ferrets. I can’t. She’s faith and optimism, love and innocence. Adults have trouble understanding the implications of having something so deadly shadow you. I change the subject by handing her Owl and Bonwhin’s ‘snacks’.

A little later another discussion opens up. ‘B, I don’t have ferrets’. Now I know this is not true. Ownership to an animal is no more a piece of paper than a Father is a Dad. ‘Honey, O is your ferret.’ ‘No B, he’s you ferret.’ ‘Did you discuss this with O?’ ‘No B, he’s not mine, he’s yours.’ I open up the pictures of the two of them together. ‘Who does O love?’
She looks at the pictures and then at me. ‘B, where’s O?’ ‘Back in bed honey. You think he needs another snack?’ ‘Uh huh’ and off she goes. Another minute or two I hear the giggling start again and here they come down the hall together, Owl upside down, on his back in her arms, head hanging down but eyes locked on her and twinkling. I’m not sure who loves whom the most.

O gets another snack, one he really doesn’t need, with Morgan squatting down next to him. When he’s done and heading off to bed she comes over and sits next to me. Very
quietly, ‘B?’ ‘Yes dear?’ ‘O is my ferret’. Yes, Morgan, he is.See More
May 2013
The Lady Morgan and O: The beginning of the last chapters

Morgan knows there is a natural order to things. Things live and things die. “B, why are the bunnies afraid of us?”
“Because they are afraid we will eat them.” “You eat bunnies B?” “Yes.” “Why?” “Because they are tasty.”
“Do coyotes eat bunnies B?” “Yes.” “Why?” “Because they are tasty.” And so it goes. Things die and are eaten by other things with no malice, no sadness, they are simply “tasty”. When they die they go to live with God.

“B, where’s you horse?” “He went to live with God.” For most of her short life there has been a dozen or more ferrets here, now there are only three. When she rounds the last 3 up for their snacks she will still occasionally ask, “B, where’s the rest?” The answer is always matter of fact, no big deal, even though my heart leaps to my throat. “They went to live with God”. “Oh.”

Morgan’s first love has always been the marvelous, magical, mysterious “O” and the feeling has been reciprocated since they fist laid eyes on each other. Well “O” is a bit over 7 now and aging rapidly. We human adults have been a bit concerned how Morgan will handle it when the inevitable happens and “O” is no longer here. Seven is old for a ferret and Owl’s loosing his hair and his sight and he is noticeably slowing down. “B, why doesn’t O have his hair?” “Because some times when People get old they loose their hair.” “B, why is O just laying there?” “Because he knows you’re here and he wants you to lay with him.” Because she loves him, she does. Because he loves her, he reaches out and touches her nose with his.

On the way home from Robi’s a day or two later: “B, why you horse and Grandma’s horse go to live with God?” A faked look of surprise on my face, “well what else did you expect him to ride?” “God rides horses?” “Well of course.” “Does he have more horses?” “Yes, lots.” “Why?” (knew that was coming, didn’t you!) “Because he likes them.” Wrong answer. “But why do they live with him?” “Because it is a beautiful place and they like it a lot.” “Do bunnies like it?” “Of course.” “Do coyotes like it?” “Yes. . .” I have a feeling I know where this is going. “Do the coyotes eat the bunnies there?” “No.” “Why?” “Because God trains them not to.” “He trains them not to?” “Yes, he trains them not to. God is the very best trainer. He only uses cookies to train them and he is very good.” “Do the mean snakes eat them?” “No he trains the mean snakes to be nice snakes.” “How?” “He is a VERY good trainer, he can train anyone to do anything.” “Oh.” And an idea blooms in my head. “You know what else?” “What?” “God is the very best doctor.” “He is?” “He is.” “Why?” “Because he is. He can make things well even when B can’t.” “Why?” “Because he is VERRRY good at everything.” “He can make them well?” “Yes.” I get a funny look. “You know how O’s hair is falling out?” “Yes.” “Well when he decides he wants it back, he will tell God. God will let O come to live with him and he will make all his hair grow back.” “He will?” “He will. Because he is the very best trainer and the very best doctor.” “I love O.” “I know you do Honey, and he loves you.” “How will O get there?” “Well he will just tell God he wants to live with him now and God will send down a very special ladder for O to go up.” “B, where is God’s house?” “Way, way, way, way up in the sky.” “In the sky??” “Yes, way up in the sky. Past the sun and moon, past the stars. Way, way up.”

On and on went the conversation on the who’s, the where’s and the how’s. Over and over the why’s. No sadness, no drama, just B and The Lady Morgan discussing another of the facts of life. Bunnies are tasty, but they don’t get eaten at God’s house, God likes to ride horses, and some day, not today, but some day, O will want his hair back.
October 27, 2013
Our beloved “O” is not doing well. He is having problems breathing and I’m having problems alleviating those symptoms. I know sooner or later we will loose all of them, but mine is not the only heart on the line here. When he wasn’t getting better, I called The Lady’s Momma and told her what was going on. I wanted to borrow Morgan so she and O could spend some time together and we could brush up on our ‘God talk’. If we loose him soon, I want to be sure I have done all I can to prepare her and help her through our loss.

Just inside the door I cautioned her not to pick up any of the ferrets. She could go find them, she could talk to them and she could pet them, but she was not to pick them up, they were too sick. Never before has she not been able to hold her “O” and more than anything else I might have said, that told her things were bad.

We made soup for the 3 of them and when O didn’t want his, she diligently stirred it with her finger offering him drop after drop as he licked them from her fingertip. She was very quiet watching each of those drops go down. “B, what will we do with O when he goes to live with God?” “We will bury his body, he won’t need it any more. What part of O goes to live with God?” a reminder and an explanation on how it is we can leave a body behind. “Our head and our hearts.” “That is right. Why would O go to live with God, besides to get his hair back?” “Because God is a better doctor and he can make O better when you can’t”. No hesitation, matter of fact, no over flow of emotion. She had it down. “B, what will you do when you bury O?” “Well honey, I’ll give him a bath, and make him some soup and get him some cookies to take with him.” Surprised, “You’ll give him a bath? Why B?” “Because nobody wants to meet God for the first time all dirty.” “Oh. I’ll make his soup and get his cookies. What else B?” “Well I send their favorite toys with them.” “Can O take his balls?” “Of course he can.” “All of them?” “If you want him to take them all, we will send every one of them”. “Okay B. B?” “Yes dear?” “Won’t he get dirt in his eyes and mouth?” “No sweetie. B puts them in their favorite sleep sack and blankets and wraps them all up.” “Okay.” “Where will you bury him B?” “Right next to his friend Moose.” “I don’t remember Moose, B”. Out come the dozens of ferret photographs spanning many years. “Why you call him ‘Moose,’ B?” “Because he was a very big ferret Honey.” “Oh.” “Would you like to see where he is buried?” Outside we went and it didn’t take her long to realize there were more People here than she remembered ever meeting. She went from grave to grave, “Who’s here B? Who's here B?” over and over. “Are there any babies here B?” “No, no babies, but there was one youngster. Would you like to see where he is?” A nod of the head. “What’s his name B?” “His name was Fairy and I only knew him for a few hours”. “Did you love him B?” “I loved them all Sweetie”. “Oh.”

She walked the graves of the Furpeople and the Guardians of the People. She noted the spot next to Tonka where Sugar lays tucked up tight against him. She learned it was okay to walk those graves because only empty bodies were in them. The Hearts and Heads are with God and they are safe there and I was reassured it was okay for that to be so.

Today she came back to spend a little more time with her O and her big Brother came too. After soups were done, the Ferrets properly and gently loved upon, she took him by the hand and led him outside. Through the open door I heard her say, “and Tonka is here . . . “ as she began to lead him through the many pieces of my heart laying quietly out beneath the grass.

For now we have done all we can to make O’s passing as easy as we can. She knows and believes with the innocence and trust of a child that her beloved, Magical, Mystical, Marvelous O will be living with God, or at least his Heart and his Head will, so he will always love her and he will never forget her. I’m counting on that Faith to get us both through.