The most unusual and unexpected circumstances make you wonder. One of my friends needed someone to take care of her ferret during the break. Having the whole month to myself in our little town, I figured a ferret would be good company. Of course, the fact that I didn’t know what ferrets are, or that I had never in my life kept any pets made it only more adventurous. Well, never had any pets is technically incorrect of me. I did have 2 lovebirds that were gifted to me. Very adorable but not meant to be sitting in the balcony in a cage. Mysteriously, their cage door was found open on the 10th day I had them. And then, I had two fish. You might think that fish aren’t very responsive pets, but these two were. They will be always remembered :D.
Coming back to the ferret. Wiki (I dont trust any other information online) says its some sort of a weasel. Cat-like in size and movement but dog-like in mentality. Sleep for 18-20 hours a day and are of a very playful disposition. That doesnt sound bad at all for a lifestyle. My friend had all the detailed instructions and answers to my if clauses, enough to say that I think I’m prepared. Ha. Not a chance. This shall be an interesting winter for me and the ferret, to say the least. At the end of our ordeal, I might write about what I learnt from it. I might not as well. For now, its just the Ferret Diaries.
Day #1: First I had to search for it. Wasn’t too hard. They may be small and sneaky but they aren’t too smart.. it always hides under the sink. I just played along and pretended I didn’t know that. Task 1 was to take it out for a walk. Simple enough. We had a small tiff as I put the leash on the wrong end of the ferret. (It still didn’t mind though). Once outside it just curled up and sat down. So much for walking. I’d have to drag it along with considerable mud and grass if it was to move. Task 2, feeding it was easier.. big surprise there. Task 3, play with it for a while. Hmm.. how does one do that? We did it this way: the ferret sniffed the walls, with its nose stuck to the ground and butt high up in the air, and I read Walden. Phew, that was a hectic day.
Day #2: More eager to walk. Too eager. Ran into a bush which the ferret easily avoided. It got loose of the leash and hid under a car. Playtime was more enjoyable.. it pretended to steal my keys while I pretended not to notice.
Day #3: Smoother than day 2. The walk was enjoyable, partly because the weather was extremely pleasing. I was startled by a big cat that had been eyeing us for some time.. first I thought it cute that the ferret had found a friend. But the friend was swishing its tail and had a very hungry look in its eyes, suggesting very very wrong intentions. The walk was sadly cut short.
(I had one of those moments today while walking her..
Guy: “Hey there… is that a ferret?”
Me: “No its a ferret! “(Big Smile)
Me (thinking): “Why would I say that?!” )
Week #2: I realised, rather daftly, that affection needs to be earned. The first week I wasnt too impressed. Its supposed to be my pet! its supposed to like me! Then, week 2.. i started calling it, her. She still didnt like me, but seemed to realise that I could reach up to the cupboard and get her food down. Mutualism is a big tenet in evolution for good reason. Walks were more plesant.. I would watch the brilliant winter sunsets as she buried her nose in the mud. She was unpertubed by the new year or by my strides in research, and instead greatly resented the sleet and the cold wind. So far she hasn’t displayed intelligence of the above the ordinary sorts, but I’m observing.
Week 3: I like the routine. It affords me a good break to sit down and let her jump all around me. I notice that she has the cutest eyes, she notices I have the jazziest keychain she has ever seen. I like her now that I know her more and she seems to tolerate me as well. We’re growing on each other already, after 3 weeks. Sometimes I get that big picture feeling, that somewhere down the line.. she makes more sense than anything I know. Most of the times I shrug it off with my human intelligence. Sometimes I make peace with the fact. Who knows, ferrets could be this super smart race that are in actuality observing humans as their experiments. And Cows too. They look dumb just to throw us off the track.
Anyway, this was our last week together. I dont regret it too much, it was fun as it lasted but now I have to get back to my schedule. She’s definitely looking fwd to having her original master (?) back too. Life throws you in interesting situations, doesnt it? And once its done, it all becomes part of an experience. Pointless experiences, I know. But someday on ‘Kaun banega Crorepati’ when the host asks that question on ferrets which no one in their right mind would know… i’ll be on my couch saying, “piece of cake!” :D.