Back in September, I had to help Hiko cross the bridge. I usually work closing shifts, so I get home late. Usually someone is waiting up for me, and god, how I wish that were the case that night, because someone would have heard, could have been with him from the beginning. But anyway, everyone was sleeping when I got in.
I walk in the door, and after the puppies calm down from seeing me, I notice Keiko acting strangely. Next thing I know, I hear screaming. I start racing down the stairs to the ferret rooms, and Keiko bypasses me, charges at the door and busts it open, and the noise just gets louder, and I know, without ueven having to see, that it's Hiko. Keiko, confronted with the noise head on, tears back u the steps and away.
I look into the big guys' room, and Yogi and Sian are standing guard while Hiko screams and seizes, so I run back up the steps, grab the corn syrup and jars of turkey baby food, and head back down.
I get the corn syrup on Hiko's gums and in a few, he relaxes, though he's disoriented - can't stand or walk and he bites at me, but not at the other ferrets. I get him some baby food and he eats, while his rear tries to climb over his head, so I hold him steady.
It goes on and on, these seizures. I can't get them to stop. So I contact our dog/cat vet at around 1 am, since I know there's always someone there.
I tell her what's going on and what I need, and she wants me to wait til the morning, because it's more expensive to do an emergency euthanasia. Like I care about that. But then Hiko goes into another fit, and she gets to hear it. And I say, "I can't wait anymore. I don't want him dying like this, I have no way of helping him."
So I head down. She doesn't want me to be with him, because they don't have the set up for small animals in cases like this, and I look at her, and tell like hell will I not be there with him. I will not abandon my guy because you don't think I can take seeing him jabbed in the heart. What I can't bear is even entertaining the fact that he, whether or not he's conscious of what's going on around him, might have to face having that done to him, in his already agonizing last moments, all by himself.
He knows me - I've loved him unconditionally for the three years I've known him. I'm the one that taught him that it was okay to trust again, to relax, to be silly, to be snarky. To be a ferret again, when every other human he had experience with betrayed him.
And it was rough, I won't lie. I watched as she tried over and over again to locate the heart. Watched as the syringe filled with blood, and she kept saying I'm sorry, I'm sorry, they're just so small ... and I told her it was okay, at that point Hiko wasn't feeling much, already slipping away. I just stroked his front paws, and kissed him. Told him how loved he was, told him thank you, and that he could rest now.
He did, he did, and then I drove home, tried not to hear the screams that had been ringing in my ears for what seemed like days, tried not to feel as helpless as I really was. Tried not to feel alone along the deserted streets, and the sleeping house that I knew awaited me. Tried not to think of my ferrets as dominoes that kept falling down, one by one.
The others, all of them, even Anya who never met him face to face, got to say goodbye. Yogi did not treat him like he had Pixie - where he couldn't acknowledge her body, because it'd be real. He laid with him, cleaned, burrowed his head into Hiko's chest. It seemed to me that he was trying to find what was missing, that sturdy thump that let everyone know that Hiko was there, that in any second that unique personality would burst forth. He stayed, gave Hiko the honor that Hiko, to my surprise, had bestowed on Pixie when she passed, that Yogi was too grief stricken to do for her.
And it was fitting, a comfort, to my lovely little boy. So troubled when he came, and who blossomed into such a character in our care.
I am so glad I found you, Hiko. You deserved a happy life, and though it was too short, I'm glad you got to experience real ferrethood before you left us.
Be happy, sweet boy, my first rescue. I wouldn't trade these past three years for anything.
I love you, Mister Hiko. Always will.
November 2010 - September 2013