Jasmine joined our family as a four-month-old kit. We got her to be a friend for Bridgett, a ferret we had rescued six months earlier. Our other ferrets, Ben, Jerry, and Buttercup, had refused to accept Bridgett for 7 whole months and were very mean to her. We thought Bridgett needed a friend, and Jasmine was at a local pet shop, getting bigger and still not chosen. Jasmine helped our ferrets become integrated as one family. Since she was still a kit, she was accepted fairly quickly, and her presence somehow helped the others to accept Bridgett.
Jasmine was full of energy and loved to crawl under the cage carpet, knocking over all the food bowls in the process. We called this a "Jasmine attack." She could dig in the litter box until it was nearly empty. She loved to climb on furniture, and she scaled a bookcase to reach the top of a file cabinet where ferret supplies were kept. Jasmine was the first to discover how to pry open the connecting tube between the two cages and let everyone escape. Once we came home and found apples and potting soil all over the kitchen floor, and five ferrets merrily exploring the house.
Jasmine loved squeaky toys. When we visited Bill's mom in Ohio, Jasmine loved to take dog toys and hide them under the couch.
Jasmine was a very photogenic ferret. We have many wonderful pictures of her, including some that capture her exuberant dance of joy.
Jasmine was a beautiful silvery ferret as a kit. As she got older, she lost most of the darker hairs and became mostly white. People who saw all of our ferrets together often commented on how pretty Jasmine was.
Jasmine had a very easy-going and sweet disposition. She got along with everyone and seemed oblivious to the dominance struggles of some of the others.
A couple of years ago, Jasmine's coat started to show signs of adrenal disease. She didn't act sick at all, and a thick coat returned, so we didn't have surgery. In retrospect, we probably should have. During the past few months, our focus on Buttercup's illness probably kept us from realizing that Jasmine was becoming very ill. We took her to Dr. Weiss about a month ago, and he said she had a very large spleen and probably an adrenal tumor. Although he said her coat was thin, it looked pretty normal to us. She was overeating and getting fat; we were used to sick ferrets refusing to eat. The results of a chem screen were normal. When a round of antibiotics didn't have any effect on her enlarged spleen, we began to think seriously about surgery. She was starting to act very sick, not playing any more and acting uncomfortable, so we decided to schedule surgery for Tuesday, June 15.
We expected the surgery to be a routine spleen and adrenal tumor removal. Much to our surprise, Dr. Weiss found a huge right adrenal tumor that was blocking blood flow through the vena cava, attached to the liver, and ready to rupture. He performed a vena cava ligation; the spleen returned to normal size after the removal of the adrenal tumor, so he left it in. Dr. Weiss took Jasmine home with him for the first night, and everything seemed to be going well.
Ironically, there was only one other time a ferret of ours faced a difficult surgical recovery; that time Jasmine was the young, healthy blood donor who saved Ben's life.
We took Jasmine home on Wednesday, and she had a rough night. She was in a lot of pain and was breathing hard and even panting. We took her in to Dr. Weiss the next morning, and he examined her and found her vital signs normal. He gave her fluids and an injection of Torbutrol, and she seemed better after this. She slept comfortably for a long time, and we thought she was improving. At night she became restless again and would not take Nutrical. She seemed to at first not notice the ferretone held under her nose. It looked like she would have another rough night. Her tail was puffed, in retrospect a bad sign. We brought the hospital cage upstairs again so she could sleep right next to our bed. Soon after we turned out the lights, we heard several high-pitched cries. We turned on the lights and sat next to her. She cried two or three more times and stopped breathing.
Jasmine was buried next to our dog Lupi at Sugarloaf Pet Gardens a beautiful pet cemetery in western Montgomery County, Maryland. Her picture is on her tombstone so everyone who sees it will know she was a ferret, a ferret who was loved.
Goodbye, Jazzy. We'll never forget you.
Four years was much too short.
Last modified 30-Nov-2001.