- Pets and Animals
Life with Grover
Grover was our first foster ferret. We fostered him for about 10 minutes, the time it took to get home and ask the shelter to let us adopt him. We went to pick him up from his former owner, who wanted to surrender him. The story was that he was moving and had two ferrets that he was unable to take with him. The ferrets lived in a big, fancy home, but unfortunately, they had been horribly neglected and were in dire need of medical attention when we picked them up. This is a common situation, people buy pets, they don't realize the care that is involved, they neglect or simply ignore them, and then when they begin to show obvious signs of suffering and serious health problems, they call a shelter and ask to surrender them, complete with lies about allergies, new babies, or landlords that won't allow pets. Then the sickly animals must be cared for by the already financially strapped shelter, and the pets are frightened, confused, and don't understand why their humans have deserted them and that suddenly there are new people taking care of them.
Life with Grover
Mr. Grover came to live with us in December of 2002. We had been volunteering at the ferret shelter which is across town. Since we have no shelter on this side of town, but we have several pet stores that sell baby ferrets, I assumed that there would be a need for help transporting or fostering ferrets surrendered on the east side. Almost as soon as we offered to do this, we received a call to pick up two ferrets from a young man who could not keep them any longer. Lance went to pick them up and found two very skinny and sickly looking ferrets in a cardboard box. They had no toys, no blankets and they were being fed horrible food full of fruit.
Lance brought them home and told me their names were Charlie (a female) and Darwin (a male). The names did not suit them at all. They were so sweet and friendly. Lance wanted to keep them immediately; so much for being foster parents. We named them Grover and Bubbles. Miss Bubbles was our immediate concern because she was emaciated and bald and showed signs of advanced insulinoma. Grover was also thin with a coarse thin coat and was very dirty. We gave them lots of love and care and they quickly became a part of our family.
Miss Bubbles improved for a while, but she was too far gone. She left us February 12, 2003. We were devastated as this was our first loss of a ferret. We gave her so much attention and hand feeding, that it was a huge emptiness when she was gone.
We worried about Grover because Bubbles was his only animal friend. He did not like our other younger ferrets and seemed to take care of Bubbles. He snuggled with her and helped keep her warm. We allowed him to see her after she was gone and he seemed to understand.
Grover really bonded with us. He was too smart to be kept in a cage. He could easily open the doors and roam the room. Since he was a good boy and never got into anything, we decided to just let him have the run of the room. He would run around and put the toys away, run through the tunnels and play in the room, but he liked to return to the cage to sleep. He collected various small toys and hoarded them in his cage. Sometimes he had so many toys in his bed, I wondered if there was enough room for him. His collection included a rather large stuffed daredevil toy, several crocheted mice, and a small Simba toy that I had to re-sew several times.
With proper vet care, exercise, and good food, Grover really blossomed. He loved to play, he seemed to love people and he was a happy healthy old guy. We never imagined that a ferret could be so sweet and affectionate. He smelled like French toast and my favorite thing to do was snuggle with him sleeping on my chest. The smell of warm maple syrup was intoxicating.
We brought home another old gal named Ms. Sebastian. We ended up calling her Betty, because it seemed to suit her. She was a pistol and did not get along well with other ferrets. We thought that since they were both old and solitary, they might get along well. Betty tried to take Grover's nose off, and she left him with a little scar on his nose, that would never go away. We had to keep them separated, so the only time Grover was in a cage was when she was out, for his own protection.
Betty was over 12 years old, so when her health started to fail and she started moving slow and sleeping more, we figured it was safe to let them both have the run of the room all the time. When Betty was having a bad day, Grover seemed to nurture her. She crawled into bed with him and he did not leave. He provided a big warm belly for her to sleep on. When Betty left this world, Grover was alone again. But he always had us.
In October 2003, our son brought home Elmo. He was a baby kitten from the neighbor's stray cats. We wanted to bring him in before some animal killed him, but he was only 5 weeks old. He needed a mommy and Grover stepped right into that role. Grover and Elmo spent a lot of time together when he was a baby. Elmo snuggled up to Grover for warmth and he crawled into his cage at night to sleep. Elmo continued to try to sleep in Grover's cage long after he was too big to fit in there. Elmo is now a big tom cat, but he still acts a lot like a ferret, and we owe that to being raised by Grover.
Once Elmo became an adult, he was less interested in Grover, so it was back to just us again. Grover was very bonded to us, and would often sleep on my lap or my chest while I watched TV at night. We gave him soup a few times a day with his medicine and he always reminded us when it was time for soup or time to snuggle. His health slowly deteriorated as he got older, but he had over two really great years with us.
In the end he told us when he was ready to leave us. He started sleeping all the time and started refusing his soup. We had been taking him to the vet for monthly visits, but his time had come. He was very old and had numerous illnesses, but it was still very hard to say goodbye. The thought of not seeing his sweet face, or feeling his warm body on my chest, or smelling that French toast scent is unbearable. Unfortunately, he completely stopped eating on Easter and we had to help him over the bridge on March 28, 2005.
We love you Grover.
A ferret named Grover? Seriously?
Grover's name was Darwin when we adopted him. The name did not suit him. He was a sweet, gentle love of a ferret and the name Grover just seemed perfect for him. I was a big fan of Sesame Street and the monster Grover was one of my favorites. The name was perfect for him, and Sesame Street names for our pets became a tradition on our family.
Grover loved tunneling
Grover was the most gentle ferret I've ever met.