I don’t know how long, exactly, they left her.
I was at work late on a Saturday night. They were dressing a deer in the garage.
And she was working mischief.
Someone had left a backpack hanging off a chair, and Jasmine was thrilled. She climbed it to reach the chair, and from there made the easy hop onto the table.
You have to understand — ferrets are burrowing animals. They dig tunnels and nests underground, sharp claws good for prey and for digging. So when Jasmine found the potted African violet and ivy in the center of the table, she knew just what to do.
She spread that dirt across the entire table, dumped a cup of water to make mud, tracked it across a pair of jeans waiting to be mended, and left bits of dirt through a box of Ho Hos and again through a box of Cheez-its.
I found little dirt prints all through the house for the next two days; on the couches, on the floor, on the coffee table.
Oh, and she pooped right in the middle of her mess.
We weren’t friends the next day.
That violet was special. It’s the only living thing I have of Lynn’s, and its new habit of flowering right as winter greyness begins to take over the view out my window is particularly endearing. And this fall there were more flowers than ever, holding soft gentle heads high above the dark green leaves.
I don’t know for sure if it will survive, though it’s not dead yet.
But I glared at her and told her she hadn’t been sweet enough to make up for the trouble, like Vesper always was. Jasmine bites too much, finds too much mischief, and doesn’t cuddle much at all.
I almost wished we hadn’t brought her home.
She made me regret that wish by Tuesday.
I don’t know what exactly happened. I was at the dining room table all morning, right in the same room, but still I didn’t see it.
Our two couches touch at one corner, making an L shape in our living room. Mostly they’re flush, but sometimes one gets scooted back and there’s a space between them that the ferrets use as a shortcut.
Around 1 p.m., walking through the living room in search of paper towels, I noticed Jasmine laying unnaturally still between the couches. All I could see was her back side, not moving.
Odd. If a ferret head can fit through a space, so can the rest of its long, skinny body. But she didn’t move at all as I came closer, not until I pulled one of the couches back, widening the space.
Then she backed out quickly, tripping over own legs as they slipped out from under her, a little cut above her eye.
Best guess, she tried to jump from one arm rest to the next, and fell, so that her squishy belly slid down between the couches, but her bony hips and shoulders could not move through.
I have no idea how long she lay there, silent and still, just 10 yards away but out of sight.
She seems mostly recovered, physically anyway. She runs without a limp, clambers in and out of drawers just fine.
But she’s a different ferret. She jumps at any noise, runs frantically for cover if we move too quickly. She hasn’t picked a fight since the accident, hasn’t danced her hilarious war dance around the room.
I don’t think she knows what happened any more than I do. I think, as far as she can tell, she was simply trapped by her previous playground, and there’s no telling when or where it will happen again.
I think she’ll get over it after a while, once the memory and the bruises wear off.
But I think I miss my rambunctious ferret. I’m still sad about the violet, but not angry anymore.
She was just being herself.