We bought Haimmie in Maine, and he was just a little sprout - black and white like a panda. As he grew out of his "kit" (baby ferret) stage, he became more and more white. He retained a single black spot just behind his left front leg and towards the end, even that black spot dwindled to just a few dark hairs. Haimmie's hands and feet were soft and would grasp your fingertips when you held him. Haimmie had some seriously long canine teeth, which would tap the floor as he sniffed, earning him the name "The Vampire Ferret" by T. His little whiskers were in a constant state of perpetual motion, sniffing out his silent world. We believe he was deaf, but I always had my suspicions...
Insulinoma is the name for the cancer Haimmie had. The tumor that ended his life stopped him from regulating his sugar intake - like reverse diabetes. Regular ferret kibble was too high in sugars for him, so we began a diet of meat baby food; high in protein, low in sugars - what probably should have been his life long diet. But when you see a name you believe to be reputable on a food bag, you trust it. Ferrets are like cats, though, and primarily need meat, their natural, wild diet being mice and other small critters. I can't be sure a meat diet from the outset would have changed his final outcome, but I wish I had known better then.
Over the past year and a half, he's been fed at about 4-6 hour intervals - half a jar of baby food, mixed with water and warmed for 11 seconds. Most of the time, he could ferret walk to his food bowl, but towards the end, we carried him to the food bowl on the 2nd tier of his cage. The tumor grew to such a size, that his mobility was compromised and he mostly stumbled rather than walked. For the last two weeks, he couldn't use his potty without messing himself, and as ferrets are clean creatures, this must have been miserable for him. He adjusted to the daily baths with a calm reserve.
So today, we helped him cross the Bridge. A ferret life without playing and dancing is no life at all. We cried and held his soft little head. I felt his heart stop and knew his pain was gone. When we came home, we opened a beer each and celebrated Haimmie's life. The last few sips, I poured into the earth - libations for the loved and lost.