When the Chip is Down

Written by on April 14, 2013 1 Comment

Apparently, I made a couple of people cry with my story about the baby mouse, so I’ve actually been a bit hesitant to report that the Thursday before Easter our last ferret, Chip, passed away.  Instead of making everyone sad about her passing, I am instead going to share a bit about her 7-year life.

Chip had three other pals to play with for most of her life.  Her pals were rambunctious fuzzies that loved to wrestle, hop around and get into anything within their reach.  They also loved fresh water, which is why we put a small container of fresh water in our bath tub.

Smiggles, Peanut, Chip and Hoppie, 2007,

Smiggles, Peanut, Chip and Hoppie, 2007,

Because ferrets like tunnels and holes, we got boxes, cut holes in various places, and threw a blanket on top. 

Ferrets love boxes with holes and blankets.

Ferrets love boxes with holes; also, blankets.

The ferrets got out to play for an hour or so each day.  It was like having a bunch of two-year-olds to supervise.

Hoppie with  Smiggles.

Hoppie with Smiggles.

Anything on the floor or within climbing reach was worth checking out–house plants, cupboards, clothes, anything.

Chip in the sleeve of my rain coat.

Chip in the sleeve of my rain coat.

Even an empty box is of interest to a ferret.

Chip inside a small tissue box.

Chip inside a small tissue box.

Sadly, Hoppie, Smiggles and Peanut only lived about five years.  That left Chip without any ferrets to play with for the last two years of her life.  Mark and I became her play pals.  We rearranged old boxes, found new boxes, and played with her.  We also made sure she continued to have access to fresh water in the tub.  She also got to take over the spare bedroom. 

Chip in the bathtub, 2012.

Chip in the bathtub, 2012.

As Chip got older I discovered two modes of transportation so she could cover more ground inside the house.

Chip in a shoebox I pulled around the house.

Chip in a shoebox I pulled around the house.

During her last months, she found a ride in the dogs’ folded bed cushion even more comfy.

Chip in the dog-bed hovercraft I held inches above the floor as I walked around the house.

Chip in the dog-bed hovercraft I held inches above the floor as I walked around the house.

On the weekends, I let her spend the entire day outside her cage, in her bedroom and in the bathroom.  We’d play for a while, and when she was tired, she made a nest out of our clothes. To get her access to new smells and sights, I carried her more and more in the box and dog bed, stopping in front of plants, in front of Dusty or Purrkins, stopping by anything that was new or might smell different. 

Chip in one of Mark's soft pull-overs.

Chip in one of Mark’s soft pull-overs.

When chewing became difficult, I soaked her food in water.  When she got too weak to get into the bath tub I put the water dish where she could walk to it.  Every day, I gave her a little rub-down.  Most days I carried her around the house so her world was not confined to a single room.

Chip.

Chip.

 Chip died in her sleep snuggled up in one of my old sweatshirts.  It was a pleasant a passing as I could hope for.

While Mark and I had 8 ferrets over the years that were all lots of fun, and all unique, there are other small, bouncy fuzzies that we haven’t opened our house up to, like chinchillas.  Mark would like to try more rabbits.  Time will tell what bouncing fuzzy enters our lives next.  For now I can only think that it will be hard to beat a fuzzy like my pal Chip.

One Response to “When the Chip is Down”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Sorry to see chip passed away. Glad to know Chip had 7 years of fun. How long to ferrets usually live?

Leave a Reply

css.php