About 3 years ago, I went to the Cat & Dogs home, and brought home two ferrets. They were brothers and about 2 years old. I named them Fidget and Gizmo. Fidget was the smallest of the two, but very lively hence his name.
Unfortunately, Fidget died suddenly Monday morning. He was right as rain on Friday, and there was nothing to say anything was wrong on Saturday. However, Sunday morning found him very cold lying on the bottom floor of their cage. They have always lived outside and have a 2 storey cage, which connects to a 6ft run.
I called my vet who advised trying to get him warm and syringe water into his mouth (Ferrets dehydrate rapidly). There were no symptons, no discharge or anything to indicate why he was dying. I separated them, putting Fidget into a smaller holding cage which I put into my hut which has a heater to warm it. Throughout Sunday and into the night, I checked him every hour, syringing water into his mouth, and cuddling him close to me with a blanket over us, to try and get warmth into him. He slept most of the time, and passed over about 3am Monday morning.
I cried and cried, and although I went to work, I had to come home early as I just could not think straight. I read as much as I could online about sudden death in ferrets, but none of the articles or pet advice lines gave me any clue. None of the symptons they cited appear to have been the cause of Fidget's death.
Later that day, I allowed his brother, Gizmo, to see his body, to touch him and hopefully, say his own farewell. I chose his grave space, and dug it deep, lining it with pine branches. Then I prepared my hut and placing Fidget in the centre, with a lit candle in the West, North and East, and incense in the South, consecrated and blessed him. Using a similar ritual to the one I used when my dog passed over, I asked that his spirit be carried to the Summerlands where he can enjoy the freedom of the fields and woods and have fun, until he is reborn again. I laid him to rest on the bed of pine branches, and covered him with a blanket of pine, then carefully covered him with earth.
At the moment, his brother, Gizmo, appears to be well and eating normally, however, the vet said that if I noticed anything different to bring him in straight away.
Doing the ritual also allowed me to say farewell and to weep at my loss, and to remember that the Cailleach comes in her own time to us all.
Farewell Fidget, your joyful spirit can now freely roam the nooks and crannies you so loved to investigate.