Sad Beyond Words

My sweet, sweet baby Lulu passed away on December 1, 2007. I cannot even believe how much my heart aches.

On Thursday 11/29 around 11 pm I noticed she was a bit lethargic. I wrapped her in a warm towel and held her most of the night against my chest. That morning she had been fine, as far as I could tell. She deteriorated so rapidly. Which I suppose is a good thing, given that it happened quickly and seemingly painlessly. I basically held her for another 25 hours on and off or so until she passed away just after midnight on Friday night (technically Sat. morning). The entire time she was unresponsive and did not react to any stiumli, etc. When I pet her she did not move. I believe she was in a coma. The cats stayed by her side the whole time. They wouldn't leave, they were very protective. I've never seen them like that. It was only after she passed away that they stopped hovering around Lulu and started hovering around me. It seemed as though they were at first comforting Lulu and then afterward comforting me. Maybe I'm reading too much into animal behavior, but they were acting so very different than they normally do.

We grappled with the decision to let her die at home vs. going to the vet. What ultimately allowed me to keep her at home without feeling guilt, was two specific things. First off, she was unresponsive in a coma and I do honestly believe she was not suffering. Secondly, Mark worked for the Humane Society for 10 years and he was the technician who did all the euthanasias. Small animals like that are given the injection in one of two ways. Typically it is through the stomach. Lulu had a mass in her stomach that appeared to just show up the day she died. I hadn't felt anything prior to that day on her, and I handled her daily. If they cannot put the injection in the stomach due to a mass, they inject it in the heart. Mark says this is not a comfortable procedure and he believes it is a cruel way to euthanize a small animal given that it is somewhat difficult. So, I let him use his judgment since he has done literally thousand of euthanasias over the years, and together we decided the best thing for her would be to keep her warm and love her until her time was up.

I never wanted a ferret. I won't ever get one again. But she was a birthday gift from an ex when I turned 22, and she became as much a part of the family as my two cats. She was born in December of 2000, which made her about 7 years old. Most ferrets live 3 to 5 years, so she was a very, very old girl.

The cats thought of her as one of them. Until this past year, she was free to roam the house as she pleased, because she was litter box trained, and she wasn't a naughty ferret who would eat things, chew wires, etc. Her only "naughty" quirk was an obsession with large, empty boxes. She'd grab a box 20 times her size with her teeth and drag it across a room in an attempt to find a place to hide it. It was the most hilarious thing to watch. She would always drag them and put them under the bed, or the kitchen table, or try to get them into a closet if the door was left open. To this day I'm not sure why she did it, but it was so cute and amusing to watch.

About a year ago her sight and hearing started to go. I kept her confined to the second bedroom that we use as an office/computer room/craft room/spare bedroom. She could only come out of her cage when someone was with her. She was still happy and seemed healthy and vibrant, and she learned to adapt to her failing eyesight by walking the perimeter of things--she'd find her way around the room by following the perimeter of the room, or the bed, or what have you. She was happy and excited despite her eyesight.

Anyway, I'm sad. I didn't post prior to today because everytime I thought about it I start to cry. I'm still very teary now as I write this. I'm not a fan of ferrets, but I can't tell you how much this little weasel meant to me. She was a pure love. If you picked her up, she would smother you with kisses. She was just unique and special, and I miss her so much.

2 comments:

Amy said...
Friday, 07 December, 2007

Oh, April - you have my deepest sympathies! It is so hard to lose a long-term, well-loved pet.

Deneen said...
Saturday, 08 December, 2007

I am so sorry April, you have really truly had a tough several months-I'm having positive thoughts that the New Year brings much joy!

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