Dear Ferret Folks-
Last night my Sabrina the Bat-Biter was playing in a pair of pants that I
keep on the floor of the ferret's room for them to play in. My husband
came into the room to play, he never even knew she was there until he
stepped on her. Not with his full weight, he realized instantly what was
happening and pulled back, but the damage was done. Sabrina took one heck
of a thumping!
Some of you out there can understand when I write of the terror we felt at
that moment, and the even more terrible guilt that followed. We hurt her!
She is ours and so small, and we hurt her! Disaster!
We held her and felt her all over carefully, flexed every joint. Nothing
we did appeared to cause her any pain, but here is the wonder- We live
with these little creatures day in and day out. We share our homes and
whole lives with them. We love them unconditionally. We think we know
them inside and out. But when I looked in her eyes they said "You don't
And I didn't. I didn't know anything as basic as how much she hurt, or
even where. A human baby could have told me by crying, but so often
animals don't cry out. They don't always share their pain, the way they
share their joy by dooking, by war-dancing. I know her mad face, her
bored face, her stubborn face, but I didn't know this face. It came from
a private animal part of her that she does not share with me. That animal
part will always be just out of my reach, it will always be a mystery.
It's a land that we've left behind forever. Human compassion compells me
to extend my hand to her and say "Sabrina, how do you feel?" But Sabrina
is not obliged to answer in reply.
In that silence I imagined all sorts of terrible hidden damage, but the
morning revealed only a stiff and sore ferret, no real harm done. I am
greatful. But I will not forget that moment when her eyes said "You don't
know me." Maybe I needed the reminder that she is not here on this earth
just to amuse me with her anitcs, she has a natural animal dignity that I
may admire from a distance, but never quite touch.
Alexandra in Massachusetts
[Posted in FML issue 3665]