Amaryn Jane Marie was born September 3, 2015. Her beginning was typical for a mill ferret; ripped from her mother barely after being weened, fixed, descented, and lucky enough to be picked for adoption rather than shipped to a laboratory for scientific testing. Our meeting was fate but pure chance as I arrived at the pet store that day. No one could have imagined the life she had in store for me and how together, we would impact the lives of so many others like her.
Amaryn was just like any other baby, taken from her place of belonging and hoping for a better start. She was scared, though hopeful, and she slept in my bed with me every chance she could. Her sibling at the time, Arlo, was a rat that had reign of the bedroom. Their first interaction was nothing short of a beautiful friendship, though some might contradict the companionship, Amaryn chose to prove the world wrong and became fast friends with Arlo. Together they shared my love and the space provided, for Amaryn was not one to be caged. When I left her alone, she would busy herself digging through drawers, playing in the closet and re-arranging my desk.
Amaryn would adjust her schedule for me so we could spend days together as I worked nights, and complete homework during the evenings. Christmas was her favorite time, since she could knock the decorative balls from the tree and attempt to climb as far up as she could.
Amaryn, age 0
When Amaryn was only a few months old, Dashel came to live with us. At first she was skeptical of a relationship with him however he won her over and together they became a dynamic duo. Stuffed animal fights and tussles over who was mom's favorite ensued. At the end of the day though, they were more than brother and sister; they were family and friend. It was not long before she developed a protruding anal gland that was not completely removed as a kit from Marshall Farms. Laser surgery took care of this small problem so that she could be healthy again!
They grew together. Amaryn was a trouble child and Dashel was her opposite. Amaryn would constantly find ways to get outside and play. Nothing could stop her from exploring her world, and with her at his side Dashel enjoyed explorations as well. I was constantly having to adjust my view of the world to entertain her and in doing so, Amaryn created something spectacular in me. A desire to take these small, misunderstood creatures, and give them purpose again.
At nearly three years old the Sanctuary became an idea that would change the lives of so many other ferrets. I was beginning to receive requests for care of varying ferrets from friends, strangers and even random people. First came Tazean, then D'Artagnan, then so many more. It seemed that as time went on Amaryn's life had created more than just a purpose in me, but a way to give other ferrets a wonderful life like she had. And she welcomed them all with an open mind as the Sanctuary went into full swing. By the time Amaryn was five years old she had impacted over ten ferret lives. And then the ultimate sorrow; Amaryn was diagnosed with Adrenal Disease.
Adrenal disease is common in Marshall ferrets between age five and eight. Amaryn developed her adrenal disease symptoms at age four. The last year of her life was constant monitoring, medications and vet appointments. Her hair thinned and her energy levels dropped however, she could always be found laying with her siblings, adventuring for a few minutes during playtime and coming to say good morning while I lay in bed. Dashel was of course concerned, but even he understood the forces of nature.
As Amaryn neared her fifth birthday I noticed she was no longer enjoying her life. She would sleep and not wake up for playtime, rarely come see me anymore unless I got up and put her beside me in bed, and her siblings were constantly around her comforting her as she slept her days away. I decided it was time for one last adventure, one last trip that would give her peace and fulfillment in her life.
We went to the mountains. The most spacious and wild place I could take her for her final adventure. We went walking along the lake, exploring through the trees and wandering through the tall grass. Amaryn became herself again, her eyes lit up as she discovered new places and new smells. We returned home with a jump in her step and a understanding between us that she was happy, happy to have been given the chance to live a life no other ferret had.
Within a week Amaryn stopped eating, stopped drinking and barely moved from her sleeping spots. I tried every food I could think of, took her to every vet on the contact list. Nothing I did for her made her feel well enough to keep going.
It was time to make the decision that would alter my life forever. It was time to send her Home for good. I took Amaryn through those doors, her pain and exhaustion driving my every step. The time had come to say goodbye forever.
When Amaryn left this life, I lost myself. Because of her tenacity for life she had to be put to sleep of my own will, and she needed convinced we would be okay without her. Of course I wasn't okay. She was the beginning, the one who started it all. What was I going to do without her to guide the way? Her sense of adventure had given me purpose. And then I remembered; it wasn't just me she had affected but so many others as well. People, animals, the viewpoint many had on how ferrets were and lived. Not only had she begun the Sanctuary for those who followed in her paw steps, but she created a world where it was okay for a ferret to be themselves.
Amaryn taught me so many things, and she left a path for those to follow to find themselves just like she did. Left for their own discovery, ferrets can become the most amazing companion you will ever have and all it takes is a little encouragement to get them there. Amaryn was the beginning and she will be farthest from the end as FerretFace Sanctuary strives to remember her and all she taught us about kindness, understanding, growth and love.
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