Never Say Never

There are some days when I wish I had a list. A thorough and comprehensive list of all the times I’ve uttered the word ‘never’ in a sentence during my lifetime. This list would be invaluable, and would completely prepare me for what’s heading my way. One thing I've learned time and again, whatever I resist, persists and 'never' always refers to resistance of some degree. When I was younger I used the word ‘never’ with wild abandon, so confident of the solidity and permanence of my passions. Now I know better though, and can almost hear the Universe giggling if I should have the misfortune of allowing that little word to slip past my unsuspecting lips. This small but mighty word has the ability to set events into motion with surprising and focused speed.

In my late teens and early 20’s I worked in an animal hospital. I started in the kennels before moving up to the grooming area after completing grooming school. I loved it. One of the best jobs I ever had. This was mostly so because until recently I’ve been much more comfortable spending my days with animals than my fellow human beings. ;) Unfortunately, while I was employed there I didn’t only adopt countless pets, but certain attitudes and beliefs that I’ve since realized the ignorance of, and happily shed.

The first unfortunate attitude was that of very righteous indignation at people who owned pets when they obviously couldn’t afford them. Bear in mind that I got away with vaccinations and treatments at cost, a mere fraction of what clients had to pay. I could afford my ignorant judgments, literally. Now, I’m of a much different mind-set. I find myself frustrated each time I visit the vets and am presented with an astronomical bill for routine care of a healthy pet. Animals can infuse joy and love into a life lacking such necessaries, and I wouldn’t deny that simple, pure affection to anyone now, regardless of income. Really, I’m embarrassed, I was such a smarty-pants.

And then there was this one, spoken with certainty and vehemence ~ I will never, ever get a ferret. Never. They stink.

These words were often spoken by a technician, or perhaps even the vet, as one or the other transported a sleeping, freshly neutered ferret to a recovery cage. Often there was a grimace accompanying the words. Over time I adopted this attitude and made it my own, and I freely admit that I held on to it tenaciously. Mind you, I had no information to back this decision up, which as we all know is the basis for the most ugly of prejudices. I can imagine the Universe rubbing its hands with glee and chuckling as it prepared to show me the error of my ways, all done with loving kindness of course. J

How exactly would the Universe tackle this one? Quite simply. Quite ingeniously. In the form of two young girls, my daughters, Jordan and Riley Mae. Both were born and raised in a home where new pets are the accepted norm. Both girls were fervently craving… a ferret of their very own. They were patient, and they were relentless (the girls, not the ferrets!). It took them a couple of years to wear me down until finally I caved, albeit with many rules and stipulations attached. Jordan and Riley had won. Irma and Roux joined our menagerie.

Jordan with her sleeping Irma

Looks like little Roux wore Riley out

Jordan made a sling to make carrying around a sleeping Irma even easier
It took me about… hmmmm, 5 minutes? to see the folly of my rash judgment. While everyone had been very eager to belabor the whole scent issue, they neglected everything else! Yes, they do have a scent all their very own, as do dogs, chickens, goats, horses… humans. But get this, I don’t find the smell offensive at all. Yes, ironic indeed. What everyone neglected to share (perhaps because they never got past the smelly thing either) was that ferrets are highly playful, adorable, affectionate, hilariously entertaining, curious, intelligent, and litter box trained. Yes, you heard right, litter-box trained. It took me another 15 minutes to decide I. Must. Have. My. Own.

While I admit to blindly walking into Irma and Roux, this is very unlike me, and I had no intention of doing the same for myself. I spent days feverishly researching and learning all I could about these critters. Irma had exhibited some strange behaviors… a crazed foot fetish (really bizarre), and while Roux’s nips were light and playful, Irma’s were quite painful and she’s been known to hold on… and not let go. Ouch, says my thumb. One day her relentless harassing of me and my feet had me seeking refuge high on a chair while I pondered my current situation. I was being bullied by a 1 pound ball of fluff. Go ahead and laugh, it was pretty funny. This is when the researching began in earnest.

Meet Cricket
Enter Cricket. A sweet, gentle, roly-poly boy of my own. ;) He has won everyone over, even Scott, whose initial reaction to ferrets was pretty typical, a nose wrinkled in distaste. Boy, what a bad rap these little creatures have. Now, when Scott walks in the door after a 12 hour shift, and over an hour long drive home, what does he do? Kiss his wife hello? Put his feet up? Crawl into bed exhausted? Nope, snuggle Cricket. Yup, he's smitten. 

I can't imagine having just one of these little guys, they're highly social. Although they do sleep a lot, when they're awake they harrass each other non-stop. Super funny to watch!

Interesting fact: Most likely any ferret in a pet store will be both neutered and descented. If a female ferret goes into heat and isn't impregnated, she'll die. This is called Aplastic Anemia, sounds like a slow and painful death. :(

I'm relieved to be able to say that I’ve learned the power of words and am pretty careful these days, even relating to issues that find me passionate and dedicated. For instance, I can’t ever imagine eating meat again, the thought is highly disturbing and repulsive to me. Yet if I were to utter these words “I will never eat meat again”, one day, perhaps tomorrow or perhaps ten years from now, I would find myself hopelessly stranded on a  desolate island, devoid of all vegetation, but rich in a diverse animal population that selflessly offer themselves up for my survival. The Universe is funny like that. ;)

Peace & blessings ~ Melinda

P.S. You're running out of time for those of you interested in having your picture included in Taylor's video! The deadline is February 15, it's looking great, come and join us! Also, visit my last post if you're interested in entering my small giveaway! :)