This is Jasmine.
She’s got the cutest white toes on her two front feet, but she won’t hold still long enough for a good picture.
She’s got springs for legs, and boundless energy, and throws herself into every leap, every sprint, every attack on unsuspecting toes.
She’s got a thing for feet.
We hadn’t planned on buying another ferret after Vesper died. We knew we couldn’t replace her, and we didn’t have the energy to open our hearts again to another small creature.
But Alaska, who always trended toward sleeping, grew lazier and lazier as an only ferret. She’d play adorably for about thirty minutes, then crawl back into a drawer or her towel.
If we didn’t dedicate all our attention to playing with her, Alaska moped around the living room, then slept.
So we decided to find her a playmate, the way we bought her to be a playmate for Vesper.
What I wasn’t really prepared for what happens when you add a ferret who channels Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.
She springs. Always she springs. If her feet slip on our hard floors, she bounces instead. Last night she tried to make a running leap over the lip of the closet and through the small door of her cage; she smashed head-first into the bars instead.
And Alaska doesn’t seem to care for her much. She tolerates her presence, but only when we lock them in the cage together. During the day, she does her own thing, and ignores Jasmine.
Jasmine runs circles around her, feints attack, sprints for cover, and Alaska hardly pays attention. Now and then, when Jasmine pounces, Alaska hisses, half chases her away, then returns to dragging her plastic bags across the floor.
I can almost hear her snotty disdain in answer to Jasmine’s teasing; Jasmine taunts eagerly, runs clucking and chirping and chattering away, and Alaska seems to be rolling her eyes.
“Really?” she seems to ask. “You had to bring her here? Can you take her back? She’s annoying me.”
But she stayed awake for three hours this morning, making sure Jasmine stayed out of her plastic bags and trying to steal whatever it was Jasmine found interesting. So I think our plan is working.
I also wasn’t prepared for how much Jasmine would make me miss Vesper. I wasn’t trying to replace Vesper, and I didn’t think Jasmine would make the missing any easier. But I didn’t think she’d make it worse.
Now, I see a dark tail disappear around a corner, or the back of a sable head pop up over a shoe, and for a fraction of a second I think she’s home, that I dreamed the past month of missing her.
Then she turns and I see her face, and it isn’t Vesper.
It’s Jasmine, with her little white toes, and her taut body bursting with eager curiosity.
Alaska had better get used to her, because she’s not going anywhere.