Monday, December 20, 2010

Yule Traditions

Every family, clan, and homestead have some form of tradition for the Holy Days. Sparrow Haven is no different. We have an annual tradition that almost always involves us bringing home a new furry family member. This year was no exception.

Our tradition always follows the same schedule. On the last Sunday before Christmas we get up late and decide to go into town to eat breakfast and go to the mall. When we arrive at the mall we always go to the pet store first, then the book store. While at the pet store I gaze longingly at the rats, mice, kittens, and this year the puppies. They had some lovely German Shepherd pups this year.

Once I have failed to get sympathy from PeterC, and thus fail to acquire a new furrbutt, we go to the book store. We shop for new books in our favourite series, choosing 2 or 3 for our holiday reading pleasure. While we are shopping I am thinking very much about the animals I saw that really tugged at my heart strings. This year it was the puppies and PeterC admitted that he wouldn't mind a new puppy to chase Dunny around the yard. Book purchase in hand we headed back to the Pet Store.

We arrived at the Pet Store and took a longer look at the puppies. I liked the German Shepherds. PeterC liked the Black Labradors. Neither of us liked the fact that there was a 99.99% chance that these pups were the product of a puppy mill. This supposition coming from a CBC Marketplace investigation last summer about pet store puppies in general. We decided that we would take a look around at local ads and see what we found.

On our way back home we bandied about the idea of going to the local OSPCA shelter, but being Sunday we expected them to be closed. Imagine our surprise to see they were open. We debated for maybe 30 seconds, if that, before deciding to go back and take a look at the pups...and the cats, and anything else they had in house.

Of course I went to see the cats first. So many babies needing loving homes. It was an act of will power to not take them all out of their cages and take them home right then. I did take one lovely little girl out of her cage and give some pets and kisses. She was very quiet, very friendly, and very kissy. I love kissy cats. In the end I did put her back though I must admit I can't stop thinking about her even now. Maybe I'll find a kitten in my stocking Christmas morning.

We left the cat room and entered the dog room. Every cage had an occupant. Mostly the dogs were all terrier, mop dog crosses, and well into their adulthood. There was a very cute miniature collie, who I would have gladly gotten to know if his tag hadn't said adopted. Good for him! In the last cage there were two puppies that looked to be boxer/ beagle crosses. Very friendly and must have still been quite young as they had all their baby fat and didn't seem to have all their teeth yet. Quite cute but neither PeterC nor I made that instant connection that means we have found our newest family member.

Back in the lobby we found several rabbit cages and what we originally thought was a chinchilla, based solely on the items in the cage. We peered through the bars to get a good look at the "chinchilla" only to find a very sleepy, very young, silver coloured Marshall's Ferret curled in a tight ball in one corner of the cage. She was on her back and her belly fur blended quite well with the shavings in her cage.

We picked her up and there it was, that instant connection. So we are now the proud parents of a lovely, sweet, female ferret. Meet Freya.

From her size, we are guessing she is only a few months old. She is not descented, is not spayed, and according to the guy at the OSPCA was living in the wild and is "most likely sick and probably should be put down."

Hah! Those are fighting words to me especially when the little beastie is as polite and loving as you could ask for. We're currently looking for a vet to give her a good once over, her shots, and of course spay her. She may be terminally ill but she'll have a good, happy, fun life for whatever time she has left on this world.

The only other Yule tradition is sleeping late on Christmas day and having breakfast at home. Otherwise this is shaping up to being a Merry Ferret Christmas so far. Ah Yule. The time of year when we settle in next to the fire and our family grows, almost every year. Maybe I should lock myself in the closet next Christmas.


We finally found a vet in another town, 70 km away, who was willing to take on a ferret. We took out last night and the vet gave us some really good news. Turns out there is a tattoo in this girls ear that indicates she comes from an actual Marshall's Ferret Farm, is descented, and spayed already. Also it turns out Freya is full grown and appears to be between 1 and 5 years old. What I thought was baby fat is actually the sign of a well cared for and slightly porky ferret.

The other bit of good news is she appears to be in perfect health, other than a little extra weight. Her curiosity was up, she was moving normally, her eyes and ears were clear, and all her internal noises were normal. The vet has never heard of a test for Lyme disease in ferrets so she is going to do some research and schedule another appointment when she knows what to look for and how to treat it.

I'm guessing this little lady was someone's beloved pet who managed to get out of the house and promptly get lost. I wish I could find them to tell them she has been found and has a new family that loves her dearly. Well, everyone except Cassie who has gotten quite irritable with other cats and now Freya. Regardless, she is loved and we are going to do our very best for her.


Funder said...

Hi Dee - your husband sent me over. I'm so happy that you didn't buy a puppy at the mall! You're right, they were probably milled, and that's such a cruel existence.

Cute ferret! We had a pair once, but I developed really severe allergies to them and we rehomed them. :-/

Dee said...

Hi Funder. Welcome to my world. Hope you enjoy the tales of fur, feathers, weather, and garden.

Carin said...

Love your Yule tradition , first the petstore, then the bookstore :-)
I love the picture of your new pet !!