Meet Mamselle Fuku

Fuku is the youngest furry member of our family. She joined it in March of 2011. We would very much like for you to be able to get to know her, but the task is very difficult even for us. You see, Fuku is a very difficult ferret. I do not very much like the sort of easy justifications when it comes to humans, especially adult and supposedly mature ones, but I guess it is acceptable when animals are concerned. Fuku has just had a rather difficult life, for which now we all pay.

She first appeared in our life not long after our another senior ferret, Bubu, passed away after a struggle. Fuku was one of new ferrets in need in a ferret adoption service. We decided to give it a try and take her to live with us. A try, because we were not sure whether we can manage this thus enlarged family. Imagine this: a little flat, one dog, one elderly ferret, and our grieving after Bubu. And then kaboom – Fuku. A near to wild little creature that regards humans as evil and only deserving to be bitten. The adoption service person told us she would not be easy – and so far Fuku definitely has managed to maintain this reputation.

Fred's hand after a much too close encounter with Fuku (03/2011)

What had happened in her life before she set foot in our place? Since we only were told some basic facts about her previous life, we are not sure. At the same time one assumption can be risked here. Fuku was not very much wanted by whoever was her family before. I mean, they probably wanted her when they bought her – Mamselle Fuku is a beautiful ferret and all. What then went wrong?

We reckon that either she must have been extremely difficult from the start – or just too difficult for that person. Whichever it was, the result is that Fuku had not been socialized properly. Of course by “socialization” we do not understand being taught to walk on hind legs or wearing a ribbon around the neck. It is just that she did not know a human hand is something a ferret should not have to fear of. She was not willing to come close, but preferred to hide near walls or under furniture as she was flashing by from one place to another. Taken by surprise, for example upon somebody’s entrance into the room, she would bump into walls or whatever was in her way, in a desperate attempt to escape. There was no trust at all. Plus, on top of that, the poor animal was not fed properly. When it comes to such small creatures of a fast metabolism – a crime.

A safe place under the linen cupboard (04/2011)

Now Fuku’s previous life is what we call a sad for animals consequence of two human-induced factors. One being the general trend to keep ferrets as pets (the ruthless demand and supply mechanism in action), while the other – an individual person’s irresponsibility and lack of consistency, exhibiting itself in (for example) not even trying to learn what ferrets should and should not eat.

What is her present condition? Well, she is doing much better than at first, but a lot of the process of rehabilitation is still ahead of us. We are past the wall-bouncing stage and nearly through the bite’em phase, but still far away from the moment when Fuku will become a lap ferret, an animal which you can easily handle (touch, play with and hold with bare hands, groom, visit the vet with no resulting casualties, and just safely travel with).

Carefully playing in a box of dry leaves (04/2011)

One of my friends, after learning about Fuku’s background and behavior, put it this way: “You now have to take out and deal with what others have placed inside.”

Agreed. There is no other way than to just go ahead and do it. Take it out. Remove junk and replace it with some good stuff. Since Fuku is now about 2 it will definitely take some time and a decent measure of both patience and luck.

Wish us luck then, if possible 🙂

Introducing Misio the Ferret

I just thought it would be a good idea to introduce to you our furry family members. To present Mr. Misio the Ferret first is the only fair decision.

Misio entred into our life in June of 2006. To be honest I must admit that Misio was neither planned, nor (initially) wanted. He was a “gift” of the sort one receives from a reather mean person intending to leave a lasting mark of their existence when they are finally gone. If you have ever received such a gift, you are able to recognize what I am writing about. Anyway, the story behind Misio ending up with us is quite emotional and complicated but the most important thing to remember is that the original intent of the giver turned out a dud. We love Misio dearly and he reminds us only of his furry self.

However, to say we were happy to see Misio eye us up distrustfully from the farthest corner of his carrier would be a lie. Although he looked like any baby ferret would – just sweet – we were quite perplexed, simply because we knew absolutely nothing about upbringing of a baby ferret. We knew nothing at all about ferrets of any ages and backgrounds. But by the time we left the elevator and entered our flat, we fell in love with him, just like that. I cannot see how we could not to.

One of the benefits of early childhood is the ability to sleep anywhere and in all circumstances (06/2006)

Since that times have passed five long years, but they did it so quick we barely noticed. Misio is now a ferret that most vets would classify as a “senior”, which we only accept because not-so-young-anymore ferrets require special attention and care. And we provide it.

Misio turned out to be a rather imperfect specimen. Not as big as a normal male ferret. Not as healthy as an average ferret – to mention only heart and lung problems, or intestinal and spleen issues which brought us to the decision about him undergoing a splenectomy. But he abides and so far has risen after all the crises with the stubbornness and determination of Andy Dufresne wanting to get out of Shawshank Prison.

As an ardent trekker, always ready to go outside regardless of the aura, Misio is the first to run up to the front door in the morning, or anytime he can hear it open. His most favorite outside pastimes are digging up molehills, rolling in fallen leaves, scouting out in wet grass, and – at times – sprinting along a fence or wall. When a walk outside is impossible Misio is most unhappy, but can be somewhat appeased with some treat (like a lick of butter) or arranged amusement (like a box filled with leaves, or just plain gladiator fight with somebody’s hand).

Try to do a minor flat renovation, or just engage in ikea furniture assembling, and you will surely have Misio on your back. No matter he was sound asleep when you checked a minute ago. Now he is all over the place, checking screws, sniffing at the WD-40, stealing any rubbery items, digging in your tool box, and rolling up in plastic wraps just to run away with a fluttering polyethylen cape and climb up on the sofa to dive off with an intention of landing in the middle of the construction site.

Trustful and sweet, with a minor exception of when our vet takes a sample of his blood (then Misio has claws and sharp teeth, and – most importantly – an attitude). A great sleeper with a deep interest in any opportunity to have some decent fun. A traveler and explorer of the wild vicinities of our block of flats (possibly and preferably  in his waking time).

An only child by character, now having to share us with two other furry creatures. That is our Misio in brief.

Misio the Ferret (02/2008)

And if you have any fingers free, please keep them crossed for Misio, who will much appreciate it in his struggle to maintain good health!

There’s something about water

When Nano the Dog came to live with us, she was about 1 or 2 years of age. You could definitely say she was a young adult, with already shaped habits, likes, and dislikes.  As she joined our household in wintertime it took us some months (well, until spring) to realize that the girl had never seen water outside her drinking bowl. Water in large amounts and in various forms or temperatures had been non-existent in her world.

And although she showed no clear signs of bewilderment at the first sight of a larger-than-bowl pool of water (our nearby river), it was obvious that this particular component of the environment was entirely foreign to her. We guessed it just had no imaginable usage for her, other than “it is a large water bowl.”

We hoped for her animal instinct to guide her steps, but no. She remained firmly ashore and declared no intent to change that situation. Water was just for drinking.

 (12/2008)

However, from the moment we helped her change her mind by just putting her into shallow, but not too shallow water, Nano’s approach  rapidly shifted from “neutral”, through “panicky” (a very brief fit) to “I can sure live with that”, and has finally settled at “Nice!”

These days water, especially combined with a stick (or some other thing of a decent buoyancy) and a good (read: persistent) thrower, seems to be her almost natural element.

Not only can she wade in shallow water or swamp…

 (05/2010)

… but she is also a highly skilled river swimmer,

 (08/2011)

… and a great stick fetcher.

(08/2011)

As a matter of fact, Nano occasionally tries ice fetching,

(03/2011)

… and even ice skating, which – as it turned out – is much easier on all fours.

(01/2011)

Her other water-related skills include traveling aboard a ferry (no sea sickness symptoms).

(08/2010)

Well, I guess it is high time to go for a walk now. Possibly near some water pool.

Ferret Wisdom: The Secret of Good Living

Long before “Eat, Pray, Love” type of messages (including many best-selling guides to well-being and healthy life) they knew it all. Just like that. Is it genes? Animal instincts maybe? Regardless of the reason, ferrets are indeed in possession of The Secret of Good Living in Three Easy Steps.

I can now almost see many of you jump up in your chairs and I can almost hear you say, “This is it, that’s the moment of truth! Come on, tell us! What are those steps?” Calm down. Relax. We do not intend to withhold the Secret from you. We asked our family sage, Misio the Ferret, to share the secret with us, to be able to subsequently share it with all the needy. We have it all in writing and with his signature, to ensure he will not change his mind one day, as to what the steps are. The translation from Ferretish to English, which follows below, was absolutely necessary as hardly anybody can decipher Misio’s pawwriting, let alone grasp the complex grammar, syntax, and metaphors of this ancient language. However, the accuracy of translation is guaranteed, as our Ferretish is near fluent. We have been trained by Misio the Ferret himself for the past five years.

To the point.

Step 1. Getting enough sleep, my friends, is the first step. And we are not speaking of mere seven to eight hours per night here. No! It is some 20 to 22 hours out the available 24 hours. Which means your aboard the bus naps, your falling asleep while listening to boring speakers, and the suchlike, are much welcome. Just assume the most comfortable position in given circumstances (like, no lying flat on your back, if you are attending a staff meeting. On the other hand, a discreet lowering of your lids as you create an impression of writing down questions to ask later, would definitely do) and off you go. The image below exemplifies how one can take advantage of nearly any setting to doze off.

Misio the Ferret sleeping on a drying rack

Step 2. Eating enough, whenever you feel you need to chow down, and (now, how obvious is that one!) according to your very taste. No Great Diet of the Bold and Beautiful of this World comes near to this approach in the results it can bring for y0u. You hungry? “Just go and eat from your bowl.”, teaches Misio, “Go ahead, drag out the best bits and chew on them.” The only rule is that you should never ever eat in a hurry. Contemplate your food, chew well, and remember to wash it down with fresh water.

Misio enjoying his butter licks/kicks.

Step 3. Following your dreams and passions constitutes the final step. If you let others (parents, partners, kids) convince you to give up all that you enjoy in this life, you might just as well be dead. However, it is not at all as simple as it may initially seem. This step, as Misio points out in his teachings, often proves quite tricky, as it requires for you to have the ability to find out where your following your passions stops being you following your passions, and starts being you tormenting others and making them cry. So, just watch out for signs of that as you pursue a dream.

On the bus, with the wind in his hair, traveling into the Unknown (home)

N.B. Below is an example of how your pursuit of your dreams may interfere with the well-being of people around you.

About to cross the thin border of My versus Your well-being

Asked for a final piece of advice within the topic Misio says, “Enjoy the implementation, folks! And remember to adapt, interpret, and improve.”

It’s good to be together

Nano & Pnyks (05/2009)

Celebrating the first six months of togetherness with an ordinary walk.