Friday, December 21, 2007

Goodnight Ernie


Ernie Monster, photographed by Julianne Gentile.

Almost six years ago, I brought Ernie home with his friend, Burt. He was taken from his mother when he was too young, and was placed in a pet store with dry food that he was too young to eat. He was young, skinny, and slowly starving.

We brought him home and nursed him back to health. He grew into a strong, healthy ferret. He got along with all the other animals, loved to play, and nipped people for sport. His favorite game was lick, lick, chomp. He also loved to hide food around the house. He stored dog food inside our couch, and when we offered him raw meat, he would save some and stash it under the furniture (which is never a good thing).

Our daughter had these glittery, pink, princess slippers and Ernie fell in love with them. When she outgrew them, he adopted one. He was aggressively protective of his princess slipper and would attack anyone (human or animal) who tried to touch them. He decided that the slipper belonged in one specific spot in the cage, and he became very agitated if it was moved.

Ernie was a little bit eccentric, but he was always lovable. Over the years, he developed recurring tummy troubles that baffled the vets, but he always bounced back with treatment. Unfortunately this fall he got worse and stopped eating on his own. He decided that he would only eat if we held him close and offered him a warm baby food mixture. We fed him every few hours to build him back up and got up during the night to feed him like a baby. He got strong and gained weight, but he never went back to eating on his own.

In December he stopped eating again and we had to resort to syringe feeding him. We took him to two different hospitals and they took many tests, but they all came back normal. They tried different meds, but he continued to lose weight, despite all our efforts.

On December 20, 2007, he refused both food and water and it was clear that he was failing. We made an appointment to help him over the bridge.

We spent that last morning holding him close and saying our goodbyes. I asked Lance to cancel the vet appointment because he was sleeping on my chest and looked very peaceful. I prayed that he would pass peacefully at home and he did. He died in his sleep at 12:15pm.

We loved him so much and will miss him desperately. We hope that he has been reunited with Cupcake and Baby Kitty and the other friends that crossed the bridge before him.

Ernie Slideshow