Dec 1989 - Feb 15, 1997
Jerry spent almost all of her life with us. We picked out Jerry and Ben, her littermate, in January, 1990. They were together in a little enclosure in a pet store. Clare chose Ben, and Bill thought the two should stay together. Ben and Jerry were full of boundless energy as kits, wrestling with each other, digging in the litterbox, and running around our apartment on fast forward. Very early in life, Jerry developed an interest in stashing treasures. Once, she grabbed a string of Christmas lights and pulled them under the sofa. That spring, as we were packing up to move to our house, Jerry snatched our scissors and carried them behind the corner china cabinet. The little collar we tried to get her to wear ended up in the same inaccessible location. Jerry's favorite toys for most of her life were plastic lids, especially the ones from Quaker Oats oatmeal canisters. When she carried a lid in her mouth, she looked like a little dog with a Frisbee.
New places always fascinated Jerry. Once, she got into the air duct system and traveled under the floor from one side of the house to the other. On another occasion, she escaped from the travel cage while we were driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and disappeared amidst the luggage and bags in the back of the car.
Although tiny, Jerry was very feisty. She would often do the lick-lick-chomp routine; she convinced several relatives to be wary of ferrets. She could intimidate our 43-pound dog by staring him down. Jerry deferred to Ben, however.
Jerry was healthy for most of her life. She survived a vaccine reaction and a bite injury that became infected. At age 4 she started slowing down, becoming less energetic, less feisty, and more remote. But she still carried her lids and put them where they belonged, begged for raisins and Ferretone, and danced in a circle with Ben.
In the summer of 1996 at age 6 1/2, Jerry suddenly started losing hair on her sides. She lost weight and eventually stopped eating. Jerry had adrenal disease and early renal failure. We started syringe-feeding her in October, 1996. We were apprehensive about surgery, but Dr. Weiss thought she would do well. Jerry had adrenal surgery on October 18. She recovered well and most of her hair grew back. She never did go back to eating on her own, so we hand-fed her for the rest of her days. Unfortunately, Jerry's kidney function continued to deteriorate. By early December we knew that her time was short. We did all we could to treat the many symptoms of kidney failure: Amoxicillin and Carafate for ulcers, Pet-tinic for anemia, Tums for calcium deficiency, Ampho-jel for elevated phosphorus, and subcutaneous fluid injections for dehydration.
Jerry had a good Christmas. She was able to travel with us to Ohio and New Jersey, and she was still interested in exploring new places. She was very interested in raisins but didn't eat them very often. Instead, she would stash raisin after raisin next to the sofa or in her little tent. She kept coming back for more raisins to grab, carry off, and hide. We spent a lot of time with her, knowing this was our last Christmas together. (Little did we know that it was also our last Christmas with Ben.)
Early in January '97, Jerry took a turn for the worse. Weekly injections of Winstrol helped, but she was clearly nearing the end. Still, she would carry one or two of her lids behind the sofa. On a good day, she would carry three or four before curling up in her little sleeping bag.
On February 15, 1997 (while Ben was recovering from surgery), Clare found Jerry in the corner of the cage in a contorted position. She was alive but barely conscious, if at all. We realized the time had come and tried to face it calmly. We took turns holding her until she passed away at 3:25 in the afternoon.
Jerry was a pretty sable ferret with white feet and a white bib. We have collected many pictures of Jerry (and our other ferrets) at our image gallery.
Time has passed since Jerry's death, but we still miss her, and memories of her are still very strong.
Last modified 30-Nov-2001.