Hey Megan and all at WFRS!
Hope you're enjoying a great summer thus far :-) Weather has been spectacular, hasn't it??? WOW! Did you enjoy your vacation? Hope you're not being overworked at the shelter! How's your new little one doing (Monster)? Do you have any recent photos? I'm sure he's changed so much since I last saw him over two weeks ago!
Well, I thought you might like to see some new photos of Dante the "wonder ferret" (because I'm always wondering WHAT he's up to!) and hear how he's doing now that he's really had time to settle in here . . . . I'll warn you - he is SOOOOOO spoiled rotten and I can't imagine his life being any better than he's got it here!
You can view all of his photos here.
Recently I contacted Denny's Pet Store (where Dante's surrender paperwork said he came from) and it *appears* that Dante will actually be 7 yrs. old this fall (he was purchased as a 6-8 week old kit in Jan. of 2000 so he was probably born around late Oct. / early November of '99 then - that would make him SEVEN by the end of the year.
Amazing then that he's still healthy and has SO MUCH ENERGY for an old geezer! Boy does he run circles around me and loves to be chased! The kiddo is CRAZY with energy at times (of course usually when I have to head out the door to work in the morning). Dante is definitely NOT the 'lap ferret' I thought I was getting but I'm totally glad for that now. When he's not sleeping, he loves to play hide-n-seek and race through the condo, wardance, play "ride the magic carpet", chase his favorite ball toys down the hall (he's obsessed with that red lycra-covered stress ball), and explore EVERYTHING but at least he does "crash and burn" after about 15 min. b/c that's all I can do sometimes, too!
It's just sooo hard for me to imagine Dante's previous family giving him up b/c of his 'dominant' personality - he's just soooo sweet and playful but, then again, I've not seen him interact with other ferrets. Dante TOTALLY has me wrapped around his paws! He *can* get a bit overzealous with his teeth when we're playing hard and he grabs my fingers but he doesn't know that's not OK right now and he's getting better.
I've discovered that Dante has . . . .well . . . . a few fettishes, which I find very amusing.
Without fail, EVERY time Dante wakes up in the morning or from a nap, he makes a bee-line straight for my bath tub, hurdles over the edge with ease now, and then proceeds to drink the pooled water at the drain. If there's no water, he will pull the bathmat up to find some. Now, however, he's got ME trained so when I hear him climb in, I go turn on the faucet and let a slight drip trickle down to the drain and then he laps up the water. He will actually stand at the drain and WAIT for me to turn the faucet on. Then he usually leaves me a nice big poop 'present' at the other end of the tub as a way of saying, "Thank You" - CRAZY BOY!!! Then he climbs out and goes on his merry way.
If only I could remember to turn OFF the faucet when Dante's finished drinking (thank goodness my landlord pays the water bill)! Dante does use the water bottle in his cage, too, but for some reason just prefers the faucet in the tub.
He's obsessed with a pair of my Speedo brand flop-flops that I wear at the swimming pool - but not the OLD pair, mind you . . . NO, he has to take the the BRAND NEW pair of exactly the same kind as the old pair for some strange reason. He takes a shoe to his 'hidey hole' and pokes holes in it while he's carrying it off!!! (thankfully, Dante doesn't chew on the rubber; he just likes to steal it!)And he will even hiss and do the 'death grip' when I try to take the shoe from his mouth. When I succeed, he hisses more as he's walking away pouting (I'm not kidding - he pouts and tells me off!) but then almost immediately begins trying to find something else of mine to stash. Dante is a VERY DETERMINED furkid with a one-track mind!!
Speaking of shoes . . . . he's also obsessed with the INSERTS in shoes and so now, I've had to either remove all of my inserts or put the shoes in places where he cannot reach them (which is not easy b/c he's SOOOOOO determined to get at them!). It's like he's mining for gold or diggin' to China when he gets his head inside a shoe - he goes to town in there!!! I'm quick to let him know, however, who is THE boss around here and he "gets it" immediately. I notice that he does understand "NO" very well but doesn't always listen however (boy, sounds JUST like a skin child!)
I've been giving him oral melatonin the past month and it appears to be helping bring in fur to some of the slightly thinning patches on his lower back and shoulder blades. Although, as I mentioned initially, the thinning could be a sign of adrenal disease so I'm watching that carefully b/c the melatonin would then just be masking the symptoms by bringing back the fur. But he's now got a nice dark color all over his legs and tail and a nice 'french vanilla' and white coloring everywhere else. And when you look at his face a certain way, his face "mask" actually looks like there's a teardrop or a large "X" under each eye in certain photos.
I still have yet to get Dante to change over to anything better than the Friskies "Chef Blend" cat food and I've tried everything in every way immaginable but 'no dice'. Occasionally though he will eat fresh breast of chicken pieces but not always. To add in as much extra vitamins and protein as possible however, he gets NutriCal and he LOVES, of all things, cooked salad shrimp! He goes WILD when he smells it and morphs into this 'freak ferret', trying to climb up my leg just to get at it on the counter! Shrimp is Dante's 'crack' (like Ferretone) and I wonder if he has withdrawls if he doesn't get it every day? And it's obvious he had never had Ferretone b/c he didn't take to it at first but now he loves that, too! (His surrender paperwork said he eats raw eggs but I WON'T do that! However, I've tried scrambled eggs a couple of times and he'll sometimes eat a bit of it, esp. when it's mixed with Ferretone).
Dante is learning to enjoy walking in the grass and definitely loves people attention so I'm trying to get him out in our nice weather and around people as much as possible. I get the feeling he was never taken outside (or not very much) by his previous owners so this is probably very new to him. He really enjoys being carried around in his deluxe carrier bag (the one I bought from Target) so he goes lots of places with me, as much as possible.
My FAVORITE times with Dante are when he's sound asleep and I pick him up from one of his many beds throughout the condo (his hammy, in his favorite blanket on the living room couch, behind the couch, in his play box, or in MY bed) and we cuddle together with him on my chest - just like I did with Sasha & Snowball :-) It's been great doing this out on the back patio, on those warm summer nights with my twinkling deck lights on . . .
His latest "trick" however is not so amusing however and it's gotten me downright mad sometimes . . . Dante's mastered how to crawl up onto my bed (just like Snowball did) and then he falls asleep under the warm blankets - that's fine when I'm not at home BUT he will also crawl up under the covers in the middle of the night, while I'm sleeping, and start nipping at my toes and scratching my butt (and hard, too!) to wake me up to play!!! Sometimes he will occasionally do the "lick, lick CHOMP" thing at the back of my knees and THAT'S where I draw the line!!! It does no good to "kick him out of the bed' b/c he just climbs back up and keeps doing the same thing over and over so I have to either close my door when I go to bed or keep him caged in his OWN bed at night - both of which he is fine with.
Speaking of "Your Majesty" . . . Dante has just woken up (I hear him crunching at the food dish) and he'll soon be zipping by me en route to the bathtub.
Hugs and Kisses to you and your fuzzies and all at the shelter :-)
Jennifer and "Dante the wonder ferret"