Recently in Fuzzies Category

Move da ass

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Tai is following me writing this entry very closely, after he noticed the mouse pointer move around on screen. Within seconds, it became prey, as he followed the trails on the screen and swat his paw against the laptop in order to catch that magically moving beast. It probably entertained him for 30 seconds before he went back to his regular "block the line of sight" game, which means most of this entry was written catfolded*.

Catfolded = blindfolded by means of a cat.

Medical checkup for Tai

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I'm trying to write this entry while Tai is settling himself on my chest, effectively blocking my line of sight. I just got back from the vet and here are the results of the Belgian jury :

- Overall health : very good
- Age : close to 6 months old (easy to determine by looking at the teeth)
- Teeth : one tooth is chipped and unfortunately it is a final one, not a baby tooth :(
- Ears : clean
- Hearth : very good
- Nuts : 1 set of two, present
- Sign of fleas : present as well. Frontline treatement started to cure.

Right now Tai is watching the Simpsons, while I was having dinner. Now I'm gonna run to the other computer and grab my camera, shoot some photographs and upload them. By the way... funny how people immediately start talking when animals are involved. I stepped into the vets waitingroom and within seconds was talking to two other pet owners.

Tai

Meet Tai

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Not fried and not a kitten. And no photograph yet, but the new king of the castle since a few minutes past eleven. A male predator, approximately 5 months old - although the vet may adjust that a little - and curious but very friendly. I was thinking about finding a kitten somewhere, but then came across someone who had Tai (I don't even know what his former name was) and it clicked right away.

I'm gonna pop by the vet tonight to have him checked out and hopefully get a clean bill of health, and this afternoon I'm gonna pick him up some things such as a flea collar, something to play with and possibly a scratching pole. My chairs are ruined as it is, but still... maybe one day I get new ones and then I don't want Tai to tear them up.

Update : As Tai has only been here a couple of hours, I have yet to find out how intelligent he is. If he takes after his new owner, he's probably a sort of genius, but in an awkward way. And modesty... let's not go there ;)

End of an era

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I got up early so I could spend some more time with Max, be there for him. During the night he decided that there was nothing left worth living for though and when I looked in his cage I found another dead ferret waiting for me. That's another kid of mine gone in 96 hours, leaving me alone. I can't possibly even start to begin to describe how I feel right now, what effect this is having on me.

I always knew this day would come, but never expected it to be this fast and this way. Goodbye Max, I'll miss you. Say hi to Bono, Tisha, Plush, Happy, Fritz, Igor and Jason.

Dooks forever, kids of mine.

Trouble ahead

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When I came home tonight, Max was in his hammock. When I opened the cage, he didn't even wake and when I reached in to pet him, he hardly reacted. Finally, after petting him for a few minutes and leaving the cage door open, he came out, but was totally letargic and disinterested. He waggled around a bit, laid down, waggled some more. All signs tell me that I'm dealing with a very lost and depressed ferret here. He ate his raisin but quite reluctantly and didn't even touch the ferretone I offered him.

When I picked him up and laid him on my chest - where he usually starts giving me kisses right away - he just laid there, sighed, laid and sighed some more. This is not just looking bad, but really bad. He's very much affected by Bono's death, which could be expected but I hoped it wouldn't. We both may be in for a very rough ride since I predict him stopping eating any time now, which will lead to losing weight and being even more down. I'll have to give him every second of attention I can, so as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to hug and hold him some more before I head off to bed. I'll get up early in the morning to give him attention and before I leave for work.

Update : I quickly made him some energy rich liquid food, but he refused that as well. When I tried forcefeeding it to him - as a last measure - he spit most out again but he had some. Water he accepted and he even drunk a bit from his bottle while laying in my arm. When I placed him back in his cage, he just stood there, and then lowered his head and laid down where I put him. The fact that he drank some water is the only thing even slightly positive to hang on to in this situation. Tomorrow morning I'll see if he feels like eating some more, if not I'll have to force him again.

I do recall that Fritz refused to eat for nearly three weeks when I changed food back in the days, which just shows how stubborn carpetsharks can be.

Bono

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Bono passed away last night. He had been ill for some time and was on meds for it, but his time had come. This leaves just me and Max here, which is a bit sad, but I'll make sure to give him all the attention he needs.

Bono is saying hi to all other carpetsharks over the rainbowbridge, and probably dooking around as I write this. I'll miss the little fellow...

R.I.P Tisha 2005-07-02

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As with everything living, ferrets also have a time of coming and a time of going it seems. When I woke a few minutes ago, I checked on the carpetsharks as I always do and Tisha had passed away. She had been ill for a while and medication was not really helpful anymore, so I suppose it was just what was coming up all along. Still it saddens me a lot, as giving up one of those little fuzzbutts that you love so much is hard, very hard.

On the other hand, right now she probably is dooking around somewhere over the rainbow bridge, chasing all her friends and munching on raisins. I'll miss her.

Fuzzies outside

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The weather outside is quite nice, so I'm gonna log off and give my terrace a quick clean, so I let the fuzzies play outside. I promised to Max that next time the sun was out shining, he could go play outside and I wanna keep up my promises to my carpetsharks. I'm sure Bono and Tisha will join him...

Lol, it took me longer to clean the terrace and get rid of some weeds that were growing between some tiles than it took the carpetsharks to come outside, walk around a few times and head back in. Apparently, today the outside world wasn't of any particular interest to them it seem. I bet that tomorrow Max will be looking for a way to go outside again though. Weird fuzzy!

I just printed out two essays dealing with the question "Why do humans need body modification and body ritual?" and I'll read both of them tonight, possibly making notes as I progress through them in order to have an easier time grading them in the end. I already noticed both essays have taken a completely different approach to the subject, which is good and fortunate even, but it'll make grading harder I fear.

Bono, getting old

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Just got back from the vet, and Bono is doing (kinda) fine. He's getting old though and it shows. The obvious loss of fur and some skin problems are very likely related to kidney problems. Something that in itself is quite common in ferrets, even more so if they reach a respectable age. He's gotten an expensive shot, which needs to repeated coming april, and then every 5 months I believe. According to Elly, they've got equally good results from this medicin as from invasive surgery, so I think the choice can be made easily.

He also had infected anal glands - which is something that can just happen - so we needed to get rid of the smelly gunk too. If I tell you we did this outside in order to keep the practice smell-free, I think one knows enough. I held Bono firmly while Elly squeezed and pushed most puss out. Yes, it's a yummy idea, ain't it?

Follow up consists of 10 days on antibiotics, and checking regulary because there is a small chance that those glands need to be cleared once more. I'm off to the pharmacy now to get those meds.

Playing catch-up

The guy I mailed about 10 days ago tried calling me yesterday but I was at work. I'll have to call him back later today or somewhere during the week.

Thanks to my sis I recall that I totally forgot to book a cage for my three fuzzies for the upcoming (long) weekend. I'll get right to it otherwise I'll be having a bit of a problem. Gotta call the vet too for an appointement.

Update : the ferret hotel is booked for my three carpetsharks from thursday morning to tuesday. Just got off the phone with the vet and I've got an appointement to bring them in for their shots on wednesday around 15h00.

From carpetshark to fuzzball

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I just gave my carpetsharks a bath - it's that magical trick to turn a regular ferret into a fuzzball :p

Seeing them bounce around, all them like little excited bundles of energy afterwards is all the entertainment one needs. They're off to bed now, with a spare dry towel to roll around in a bit more, so they're totally dry when they fall asleep.

Poing Poing!

Fuzzy update : Tisha

A couple of days ago, I took Tisha to the vet because she kept on coughing and sneezing. She clearly had lots of problems breathing and when listening to her lungs - even without a stethoscope - it sounded like a deep rumbling sound. Not good at all.

However, today is her third day on antibiotics (Siroxyl and Vibravet 0.25 ml twice a day and 1/4 of a Baytril 15mg tablet daily) and she's doing much much better. Almost no more sneezing, coughing and she's more active as well. 7 more days to go, and then I'll know if my little carpetshark is cured. Bono and Max are still the regular fuzzies, chasing food and hiding it all over the place.

This concludes the update.

New pictures

If you can't bring the fuzzies to the snow, bring snow to the fuzzies - a new album in the friedkitten Photo Gallery, conveniently under the Ferrets section.

I already got my hands on photocopies of my drivers license and identitycard, I'll have photographs (mugshots?) taken either this weekend or early next week, and I know when I can see a doctor for a medical exam.

Oops

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I promised you a "life" update, didn't I? I could tell you that I totally forgot about it of course, but the truth is that due to the fact that I don't have a life, I can't give you such an update. Instead, I give you fuzzy pictures (click the thumbnail for a 800x600 sized picture).

Because they are my life.

Ferrets Photograph 1 Ferrets Photograph 2 Ferrets Photograph 3 Ferrets Photograph 4 Ferrets Photograph 5

Bono limps

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When I let the ferrets out of their cage a few hours ago, I noticed that Bono - my albino male - was walking kinda funny, as if one of his hind paws wasn't awake yet. I kept an eye on him as he was going through the room and he clearly tries to avoid using his right hind leg, and when I push it, he seems to lack power to push back.

I checked his left one, everything seems to be ok there, so that leads me to believe that it's not paralyzed in any way. He probably hurt it somehow, although I wouldn't know how he managed to do it in his cage. Yesterday he was fine as far as I remember, and I didn't notice any screams or panic in the hours between. Maybe he fell out of his mammock and landed badly?

Anyway, I've transferred him out of their three story cage into their carrier where I supplied him with food, litter, water and some towels. That should keep him safe and give him some rest. I'll keep monitoring for the rest of the week to see if it gets worse, or starts to improve. If nothing changes or it gets worse, I'll be off to the vet.

Car update : it's been pushed back at least one day, as the guy who's selling it will only get his new car on thursday instead of wednesday. He told me he'd keep me updated by phone, which is cool.

Bad news, as expected

I've just gotten the dreaded call from the vet, and as expected, the news was not good. Plush is no longer with us, as she died on the operating table. Apparently, her belly was a big mess and the bruises we spotted on her tummy was internal bleeding as we suspected.

When Elly and Joke opened her up for surgery, her belly was already filled with blood and although it seemed they would be able to control the damage and get her fixed up, it just was't possible. That's another ferret gone this year, but one thing is very important to me : she never was in pain, not even before the operation. I'm off now to tell the three remaining fuzzies the bad news.

I love you Plush.

Waiting

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I've been sitting by the phone for the past hour or so, expecting a call from the vet. I'm not delighted to get that call to be honest, as I presume it's gonna be bad news, and even though I won't be able to change fate, I wish I could. This really sucks and a few days ago my sis asked : ain't it hard to love these ferrets so much, yet have to lose them so soon? Yes, it is... but the question always remains

Is it better have loved and get hurt, opposed to not love at all?

When it comes down to my ferrets, I take the "getting hurt" part with it, because these fuzzies give me so much joy. Strangely enough - and when I think about it hard - I don't think I'm open for love myself, I automatically stay at a distance.

I've been hurt before - but not *that* bad - and yet there is that defense mechanism always kicking in. Last time I "confessed" my feelings to/for a certain someone, it didn't quite turn out into what I hoped it would. It did however turn out to what I expected. (Well, that's not really fair to say... I know very well the situation at the time was seriously fucked up, and although there seems to be better times ahead, I think we're a loooooong way from ever having a chance at it again. And that's all I want to say about it for now.)

Plush is at the vet

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We just dropped off Plush at the vets and after a quick check she was sheduled for surgery tomorrow morning around 9. Elly (the vet) said it didn't look too good, but depending on what exactly the problem is, surgery might be possible.

Anyway, not much there is to say about it right now, as there is no way to understand the exact situation before they open her up. I hope it all turns out to be benign and cureable, but Elly asked me what I would do in case they called me to make a decision. I answered flat out that the wellbeing of my ferrets is more important to me as anything else.

I wonder about Plush

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I'm heading off to bed early'ish since I gotta get up around 8 tomorrow. Hilda has been so good to give me a ride over to the vets practice to get a checkup on Plush, and we've got an appointement at 09h30. I've prepared a carrier to transport her, and it can act as a temporary recovery room as well.

She's not doing too well and I'm pretty sure that she'll be diagnosed with tumor(s), and the big question is whether surgery would still make sense. If it's just one big lump that hasn't spread out too much, I consider it good news. It's not been a good year for ferrets so far, and I'd hate to lose yet another one.

Well, more on it tomorrow I presume, even more on thursday - since that'll be the day she goes under the scalpel - if surgery is an option.

All cried out...

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I returned from the vet about 2 hours ago or so, and even though only one of my fuzzies is no more with me, there is a certain void in the house. I'm totally out of tears right now but my heart tells me I've made the good choice. Of course, when we arrived at the vet - thanks Hilda - Happy was doing relatively well, so it hurt me a great deal to tell Joke to put him to sleep.

He had been eating just before we left and on the way over he ate some more. All signs that he was a normal, healty ferret, but I know he was not. I've asked for an autopsy, I always do since I figure that the knowledge they can gain from it might someday save other ferrets, and I gotta call back on monday to check for the results.

Now I'm off to try and eat something, and take care of the remaining boys and girls. Happy, I'll miss you.

Happy, I will miss you

The end

I've just given Hilda a call - and disturbed her while she was painting - and we're off to the vet. I've taken my decision as Happy just started suffering from yet another attack - worse as yesterday - and I can't let him suffer any longer. It's hard, but as I said... the right thing to do.

Update

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I've got terrible headache and haven't slept too well, which should be no suprise I suppose. However, when I woke up this morning Happy was happily asleep and seems to be doing better. I woke him up and he looked and reacted all normal, which is good of course, but it doesn't make the situation any easier. I also noticed that he had eaten quite a bit, something that he quite possibly didn't do as much as he should have over the past few days.

I guess we'll be going through up and down days from now on. I'm gonna keep a close eye on him throughout the day to see if anything changes. Life, why does it have to be so complicated?

Helpless

is what I am right this minute. About thirty minutes ago I noticed that one of the ferrets was making weird noises and when I checked it turned out Happy was having another attack. It's been a while since the last one but I still have everything that I can use to counter his illness nearby. I grabbed him, did a quick check and administered him his medication.

He didn't want to eat it - as I already predicted since he's been giving me problems taking it for the past week - but after a few tries I was able to feed him his meds. I also added some brewersyeast and prednisolone in sugared-up water. I'm under the impression that even though I've done what I can now, he might not be there when I wake up in the morning. I feel so helpless, it's hard to realize that with all our intellect we still cannot prevent death and suffering. If he is OK'ish in the morning I'll decide what the next step is, if he has not shown any signs of improvement, I'm asking the vet to come over and stop the suffering.

I can't have any of my ferrets live on in pain, just because I cannot handle the fact that every life comes to an end at some point. It's gonna break my heart, but as a responsible ferret owner I will do what is necessary and best for my fuzzies. I might sound to the point and pretty straight forward right now, but let me tell you, I'm am in tears right now. My heart bleeds and at the same time I know I'll make the right choice tomorrow.

Oh, don't take this personal, but I've turned off commenting for this post. I know some people may want to wish Happy and I good luck, but it won't help us one bit. That's not being harsh, it's just being realistic. These are things I have to go through by myself. Thanks for your understanding.

Boiling Fuzzies

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33�C / 91�F right now and it's close to 15h00. I suspect temperature can rise about 1 or 2 degrees higher. I've taken very much measures to cool the ferrets as much as possible, as they are really suffering in this heat. Frozen bottles of water, wet towels, a fan has gotten the temperature down to 28�C for the time being.

The weather forcast is talking about pretty big thunderstorms later tonight and tomorrow, and I can only hope that those will bring an end to the heatwave for at least a day. If not, I won't be able to drive the heat out of the apartment, which would suck bigtime.

I really don't care that I feel bad, annoyed and irritated because of the heat, because I'm human an can do something about it myself. I know the heat will go away sooner or later, but my fuzzies don't know that. There's nothing they can do about it themselves, so that makes me even more responsible. Which also is the reason that they've got the fan close to their cages, and I'm sweating my ass off without any cool air. Such is life :)

Note : I've just installed Mozilla Firebird 0.6, which differs from the full Mozilla Suite (which includes usenet, mail etc). As far as I can tell the Firebird package is only a browser, and based on an XUL core. Does that mean anything? Yes, that I've got too much spare time. But since the Mozilla suite will be moving to Firebird anyway, I decided to see what all the fuzz was about. My first impression : Firebird is much alike Mozilla, yet a bit different.

Fuzzies need stuff.

I just got off the phone with Annie from BFL concerning the ferret hotel and the fact that it was fully booked. They'll put the boys (Max & Bono) downstairs, Happy gets to stay in his carrier and the girls (Plush and Tisha) can stay with their own ferrets. I also passed them my order for ferret things to make sure everything is in when I pick them back up on the 22nd.

My order : 10kg of ferret food - 12 kg of litter (yesterdays news) - large bottle of ferretone. It'll be expensive but since I'm there anyway I better pick up what I need.

Now I'm off to the shopping mall to get myself some new clothes (sales started on tuesday) and some ferret food so the fuzzies have something to eat till July 22nd. I also ordered 5 shirts from BMEshop yesterday and they should be arriving in 2 or 3 weeks, so I don't need to get those in the mall.

Oh, if you didn't check out Sluggy Freelance yet - I've linked to it in the previous post - then you might wanna do so... it has an easily distracted ferret called Kiki in it!

Crisis under control for now

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Happy just suffered from quite a serious attack about an hour ago. I had just given him his medication and about 10 minutes later it started. As soon as I noticed the first signs I picked him up, tried calming him down and feed him sugar to get the level of sugar in his blood back up, but it only got worse. Even while I was holding and comforting him, he totally panicked and showed signs of epilepsy.

During one of the attacks he bit my finger and didn't let go. I remained calm and was able to get my finger back without too much damage done. As I obviously couldn't get him to calm down - my presence even seemed to scare him - I put him back in his cage where he continued to jump and bounce against the walls in a state of panic. Although it might seems harsh to put him there, it was the best solution : he can't injure himself too much there, and it's a surrounding he knows very well. After about 5 to 10 minutes the extra sugar I gave him started kicking in and he calmed down quite a bit.

In the mean time I had prepared a mixture of raisins, ferretone and sugared water to give him an extra boost, and when I put that in the cage he started eating it immediately. I changed his food and bottle of water and now he seems to be fine.

Even though the past few weeks have been very good, a crisis like this reminds me that he is still sick, and will never recover from it. Such is life I presume. During the time he has left, I can and will take care of him in the best possible way.

Update 01h23 : Happy just had another serious attack a few minutes ago. This time after he ate a raisin. I really don't know if I can handle this much longer. If he's in pain, I'll take the decision I don't like taking, but which is best for him.

Yikes!

Although it's slightly cloudy today, the heat remains untolerable. My ferrets are definitely having a hard time, even with cool towels on the cage and bottles of frozen water nearby. Tomorrow expectations are that the temperature will rise another 2 degrees celsius, so it's not over yet.

Apart from that, they don't expect the temperature to go down to around 20�C until very late in the night... which means that there will be almost no possibility to cool the place down. I'll have too look into that sun reflecting foil, in the hope it might help keep the place cooler.

Focus, think positive!

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I just check on Happy and he was sound asleep once more. A bit too asleep to be honest so I woke him up. Well, I tried too and in the end he opened his eyes. Damn, every time he goes into a deep sleep he has trouble getting back out of it. Crappy blood sugar levels.

He is still on meds and today I picked up kitten food because it is better for him right now - according to the vet. I'm not too sure he actually likes the new food and the last thing I want happening right now is that he doesn't want to eat anymore, so I just started mixing the new food with the old. I'm aiming for a 50/50 mixture in about 1 to 2 weeks.

When was awake, I gave him two raisins and he munched them down right away. When I put him back in his cage, he immediately started eating so it was time I woke him up I suppose.

Yesterday I started reading Girlfriend in a Coma (Douglas Coupland), a book that I bought on eBay for about € 6 shipping and all included. I had it on my amazon wishlist for a while but figured I could get it cheaper on eBay so I did. Only read the first 10 or 15 pages so I'm not yet really into the story. I'll let you know if it's any good.

I'm a softy and I know it.

I just got back from the vet, and as I suspected, nothing really strange has shown up. We did another bloog sugar test, and it ended up being 79 - quite low for a healthy ferret, especially if he has eaten well, but it was not suprising. Therefore he's back on a shot of diazoxide twice a day to control his insulin production, and I might have to get him other food.

While I was there I also asked the vet to give him his yearly shots and something to get rid of earmites. Since I've got 5 fuzzies, I got 5 doses of stronghold to treat all of them at once. Total bill this time : € 65.

Luckily I know that having animals and taking care of them can have an important financial aspect as well. But the love you get from them cannot be measured in cash, and that's exactly why I love my kids so much : they sometimes are an annoying fighting brad pack, but seconds later they walk over to you and give you kisses. My heart always melts.

Happy, more problems?

As I took Happy out of his cage tonight, he still was in a deep sleep. This is not uncommon for ferrets, but the first time you pick up an animal that feels like a very elastic relaxed rubber ball it scares the hell out of you.
Since I already knew that he was just asleep there was no problem and while the other fuzzies were jumping around and playing, I laid myself down on the couch, with Happy on my chest.

He remained asleep for at least another 5 minutes, not moving a single paw and totally relaxed. After some cuddling he woke up and started giving me kisses. I put him down and he went to walk around with the others. While I was cruising through the livingroom I suddenly spotted him in the corner, paws widely spread, drool dripping out of his mouth and tail looking like a duster. I immediately picked him up to calm him down and check out what the problem was. Well, I already have a good idea of what the problem is : once more a too low blood sugar level - all the symptoms were there.

I offered him some ferretone to relax him while preparing some medication that I still had. When I grabbed some ferret candy and held it to his mouth, he attacked as if he hadn't eaten in 3 days, while I know for certain he had access to food all the time. I let him eat all he wanted and after I put him back in his cage with a new bowl of food - he continued eating - I also crushed some brewers yeast to put on top of his food. It might help get sugar levels back up without triggering an insuline production attack.

So, what has happened? I suppose he fell asleep and due to the dropping sugar levels slept much longer as usual. When ferrets are asleep, they don't eat - this isn't rocketscience - and that causes those levels to drop even more. Ferrets eat about every 2 hours, so I think that was the problem. I've already called Hilda and she agreed to drive Happy and me to the vet tomorrow afternoon (thanks Hilda!) and in the mean time I'll try to wake him up every now and then to give him the chance to eat properly.

I'm pretty convinced that when he's checked tomorrow, nothing will be found and all blood results will show up normal. Of course, since he has been awake and ate.

Fuzzy education for dummies

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Cyborgirl talked about pet otters in one of her latest posts, to which I replied :

Erm... Cy I hope you're not serious about pet otters? Otters are - in my maybe slightly biased opinion - no pets. They're wild animals, and should be left in freedom.

If you want the pet otter feeling without the restrain liberty part, get ferrets. They've been domesticated for years and wouldn't even survive in the wild anymore should one escape.

Apart from that, they're about everything otter you can imagine, except they don't eat fish. (Posted by ServMe on April 17, 2003 11:10 AM)

and some smartass called Kati had the following to comment on that :

pet otters!!!! ServMe's right, ferrets are kinda like miniature otters from a cute biting heaven of animalia, but ferrets are smelly, whereas otters are slick and shiny and eat clams while floating on their backs in the sea green surf!

=D (Posted by kati on April 18, 2003 04:31 AM)

And of course, that got me going :

Ferrets are smelly? Kati, you really should have left an URL to go with that name of yours, and I hop right over and tell ya! Ferrets are only smelly, when :

1. they are *not* neutered or spayed.
2. you wash them more than a couple of times a year.

Why? Because neutering takes away 90% of the smell and makes males easier to handle, and females need to be spayed (or mate) because they will suffer from all kinds of problems when their hormones run wild and nothing is done about it. Scientific info

Washing your ferrets too often only results in the skin-glands releasing more oils to keep the fur in good condition and will increase any smell instead of take it away. Apart from ruining the fur that is.

Telling me ferrets are smelly really gets me going, and sadly only proves you know nothing about them. And if you know nothing about something, shut up about it.

You know where to find me if you want more info.

Bleh. (Posted by ServMe on April 18, 2003 12:33 PM)

The golden ferret

is back home. He's doing suprisingly well according to the vet, and I quote "this ferret is strong as a rock". He's had major surgery yesterday morning, yet was back up on his feet this morning and even walking around. Here are some pictures to give you an idea. I'd take more, but ferrets don't really cooperate when taking photographs :)

Thumbnail of his belly after the operation - click to enlargeThumbnail of Happy - click to enlarge

I'm happy to have Happy back here. He'll remain separated from the other fuzzies for at least one or two more weeks to monitor how much he eats and whether complications arise, but currently everything looks good.

An check-up appointement will be made next week to do some more bloodwork to find out if the bloodsugar level is higher. It should be better.

Operation Happy - Update

I just got a call from Elly - the vet - and she told me it was a pretty serious operation. Insulinoma (one large, one smaller), problems with his right kidney (has been removed), it was pretty bad and stressful too.

The problem is that none of the above mentioned conditions can be cured 100% by operating, so what happened just now is that he has been bought some more time. The insulinoma will return sooner or later and it's very possible that his left kidney gets problems due to missing his right one.

Am I pleased with the outcome? Yes and no to be honest. It was pretty much what I expected, but I'm not sure that we did make the right decision. Of course I'll be glad to go and pick him up (possibly tomorrow) and see him walk around without pain and happy... after all, I love that fuzzie, but where is the line?

How far should one go - mentally, physically as well as financially - to "save" those you love?

The boys & girls

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I dropped off Happy at the vet this evening so that she can do surgery on him tomorrow. It was only possible thanks to my sis who gave me a lift there and back. Thanks sis!

I decided to take some photographs of the ferrets today, and as you might notice, Happy is not in any of them... unfortunately. He decided not to cooperate at all, and instead fight with the others. Reason enough to believe I've made the correct descision by opting for surgery to find out what is wrong with him. It's not (yet?) a type of surgery to correct problems, but rather to identify what the problem is. A cut 'n look inside type of surgery.

I expect to get a call tomorrow to find out what the surgery revealed.

Thumbnail of Plush - click to enlargeThumbnail of Tish - click to enlargeThumbnail of Plush & Max - click to enlarge
Thumbnail of Max - click to enlargeThumbnail of Bono - click to enlargeThumbnail of Plush - click to enlarge

Right now my back hurts like hell, and I don't know why. I've not made a wrong move of any kind, but the pain is just there. Since I've got a headache too, I guess I'll be off to bed early and hopefully be able to sleep it all off. If I don't think about Happy too much that is. I just love my boys and girls!

The Happy-ness continues

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Got back from the vet a few hours ago. He's definitely suffering some sort of pain in his stomach, but x-rays (as a verification for those of last wednesday) didn't show anything out of the ordinary. Elly thinks the insulinoma might be slightly irritated or inflamed and prescribed Synulox to fight any infection. If it doesn't get better, she'll have to operate to find out what is the problem.

However, before we move to such a drastic measure, I'll be popping in again on saturday (at 10 o' clock) to sedated him and draw more blood and have the lab run more extensive tests. We hope to find more clues there.

Joco was really really frustrated when he called me, as he has problems getting Command and Conquer Generals to install on his PC. It keeps on aborting with some error "1608 InstallDriver instance" or something like it. He already searched the web and everything tells him to install Microsoft Client for Networks, but that is installed. I'll be going over to his place tomorrow to take a closer look tomorrow evening.

Off to the vet... once more.

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I called the vet around 15h00 and explained Happy's aching belly. She said it might be medicin related, and thought it would be a good idea to come in tonight. It's only my third visit or so in less than a week... I think Happy is getting used to it.

What is next?

I'm off to bed. Just finished watching 13th Ghost, and while it was entertaining, I wouldn't consider it amongst the top of it's class.

Happy is separated from the other ferrets again, as he kept biting the others. I've got a strong suspicion that he's in pain when they are all sleeping in one hammock. He doesn't like his belly to be touched, and I fear that the others sleep on top of him, or walk over him when they move, and that in result he bites.

The last thing I need right now is problems between the five of them, and while the cage is more as big enough to sleep separated, or only two in one hammock, they prefer to sleep together. I'm gonna check with the vet tomorrow to see what we can do about it. Insulinoma should not result in physical pain in a ferrets' stomach, so it might be a combination of things.

If I call tomorrow I'll probably be talking to Elly - who's been on holiday the past week - and even though Joke is a very good vet, who knows a lot about ferrets, Elly remains more experienced.

Ferret Medicine

I've just finished cleaning out the ferrets cages, and Happy seems to have enjoyed the night. I had planned on keeping him separated from the others for the rest of the week, but as I let him out of his carrier yesterday evening, he walked around, and in a more or less straight path to the other cage. I figured that I might as well let him sleep there.

If he gets cold again, the bodytemperature of the others might help him stay warm, whereas that is impossible if he sleeps on his own. This morning he seemed more joyful, but still has got no clue what to do with his food. He accepts it every now and then, walks off with, puts it down and then looks like "now what?" and walks elsewhere. His liquid power food is no problem though.

I just finished making a new load, and I added more apple, banana and some ferretone to it. He ate 75% of the bowl I just gave him, and that pleases me. What's less pleasant is that he likes to shake his head - especially if he has a mouth full of food - so that everything goes flying all over the place. Oh, well... :)

I'm off to the pharmacist to pick up Prednisolone, and I already gave him one 0,5 ml shot of Diazoxide... he doesn't seem to like the taste of it though. The mixture of those two medicins should help regulate the level of sugar in his blood.

Ferrets are priceless

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Just got back from the vet, as the lab didn't have enough blood to run insuline tests on it. I left around 17h00, arrived at the vets in 55 minutes (whereas it should only be about a 30 minute drive) and then had to wait another 45 minutes before it was my turn.

Of course, that wasn't the end of my luck, nor was it the end of Joke's luck. She had just handled a chicken, and when she took a hold of Happy, he immediately decided that chicken was something tasty and he bit her in the finger. Lol... actually she'd seen it coming so she washed her hands twice before holding Happy... to no avail.

Drawing blood was a pain in the ass, and while I hold him, she was poking the needle around, looking for that tiny vein in his paw. He screamed like we were killing him, which was far from what was happening. After a few tries we gave up and decided to try the other paw. The second I loosened him, he bit me in my thumb, and had no intention to let go. Same result in the other paw, no blood. She told me that it might be a bit clotted up from wednesdays' blooddrawing and that could be the reason for the unsuccesful attempts now.

Anyway, both joke and I ended up having more blood drawn from our fingers as Happy from his paws. Too bad neither of us had to be tested. We decided to put him on medication anyway, and try another test in about a week.

So, back home with a stressed ferret, some medication (I have to pick up the rest at a pharmacist tomorrow) and another bill for € 29. That does not include the medication I got to get tomorrow, nor the bill for the lab tests.

I don't give a damn though... those fuzzies are my kids, and they're priceless!

Quick out and in

When I woke up this morning, Happy was awake, and had eaten all his power food, as well as some of his regular food. He seems to be doing better now, but to make sure he keeps well, I'm off to pick up some fruit (apples, raisins, banana) as that will aid to his recovery.

I'm just gonna do a quick shopping run, and then come back home to keep an eye on him. I'll let all of them play together while I clean the cages.

Note : Picked up banana, apple and mango. I bet he'll like it. I also was able to do some transactions on my bankaccounts, so all debts and due bills should be settled now.

Happy is better, but...

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still not doing great. He is back home for now, and even though his blood sugar levels are still low (81) he's better as he was yesterday. We've taken some blood to have the lab do insuline tests on, and we expect results back on friday afternoon at the earliest. The blindness that Joke feared seems to be no problem anymore, but he remains unstable and often has a hard time walking.

If he goes into shock again, I have to feed him sugars as quickly as possible, and to regain strength he has access to a special power food mixture as well. That should allow me to keep him in there for the next few days, at least till we can decide what to do after looking at the lab results.

That combined with a bill for € 87 leaves me no choice but to stay home from work and take care of my ferret(s).

Happy : Update

I just got off the phone with Joke (my vet) and apparently Happy was doing much better this morning. He's already back on his feet and even ate some food. When he pooped during the night though, it was still very slimey and dark greenish, but she's gonna monitor him during the day and see if it changes no that he's eaten a bit.

When she checked him this morning she feared he might have gone blind, but 2 hours later his vision has cleared up and he seems to be doing good now. She tried getting another bloodsample to check on the blood sugar level, but it wasn't as easy as it was last night when he was sedated.

I'll go over to the practice later tonight to check on him and give her a hand. Then we'll take a larger bloodsample, so that it can be tested for insuline levels in a laboratory as well. As those results come in, we can then decide what the best solution will be.

Phew... Thanks for all the positive energy people! I think it helped him, and me as well!

Medical emergency

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When I came home I found one of my ferrets at the bottom of his cage, not moving at all. Even before I picked him up, I knew something was very wrong. I handle my ferrets every day, so the second something is out of the ordinary, I tend to notice it.

I picked him up, and did a quick examination while grabbing the phone to call my vet. Eyes were open (good sign) - back end paralized and stiffened (bad sign) - hard time breathing (bad sign) - lots of drool at his mouth (bad sign) - urine and poop everywhere (bad sign) - shivering and very cold hind paws (bad sign). I was able to reach the vet instantly and after describing the signs, Joke told me to try to feed him water with sugar in it, and then get over there.

I took two spoonfuls of sugar, dilluted them in water and dipped his mouth in it. No sign of movement, except for sneezing and even more problematic breathing. No tongue, no will to even taste the water. I grabbed a towel and his carrier, but after putting him into the carrier decided to go without it. That way I would be forced to keep him in my arm all the time while driving, but I figured it would be better for Happy to do so, as it would allow me to keep an eye on him, and heat him up a bit.

Traffic was a pain in the ass, and it started raining to add to the annoyance. I finally got there in about 30 minutes, and waited another 5 before Joke was done with her previous patient. As I was waiting Happy got convulsions and stiffened up again... much like what happened to Fritz, and I lost him.

When I got in, Joke did a quick examination, injected a very small drop of Valium to stop the contractions, and then took some blood in order to get a bloodsugar reading. After a few seconds the result was 65, where normal ferrets have 90 to 125. Definitely low, so she injected glucose as well, and as the Valium kept him sedated she examined him for possible injuries after a fall or so. She didn't find anything, but as I told her where I found him, and the conditions in which, she wanted to take an X-ray to be certain.

X-rays showed nothing out of the ordinary, no ruptured spleen, or intestinal blocking whatsoever. No fractures either, so to this point we think it's insulinoma. That is treatable, either with medication, or operation, but both options have advantages and disadvantages. To keep an eye on him, she kept Happy in the practice for the night, and she'll do another blood sugar test later tonight and tomorrow morning. To get his temperature back up, he'll be placed under a heathing lamp as well.

Phew... Even while he certainly is not better yet, there are some opinions about causes for the current illness. Apart from insulinoma, brain arrest, cardiac problems could be the cause as well, but she puts insulinoma as the most probable cause.

Get well messages for Happy are welcome! Bono, Max, Tisha and Plush, as well as I need as much support as we can get right now. We'll forward all good feelings towards Happy.

Is this heaven?

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While I was watching TV - Tour of Duty - I had opened the ferrets cage and Tisha and Happy came out to play for a while. Bono also jumped out, but jumped back in after about 10 minutes to eat some food and sleep some more. Plush and Max didn't even bother waking up :)

Anyway, while Tisha was still roaming the livingroom, Happy jumped up onto the couch to lay down in his spot : the center seat, on a pillow. He then curls up and takes a nap. I scratched him behind his ears and on his neck and he just enjoyed it so much, that was quite obvious. After about 5 minutes I stopped, and he looked at me and went to sleep right there, next to me. So peaceful and quiet.

I wonder what goes on in those little fuzzball's head : "We live in a gigantic house where a hand lives that feeds us, plays with us and scratches us behind our ears whenever we feel like it. Are we in a place commonly referred to as heaven?"

Ferrets - always entertaining you!

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I've just spend the past 90 minutes measuring and cutting metal gazing to fit the cage, and attaching it to the correct points. That should prevent further escape attempts, at least for now.

If she still manages to get out, I'll have to put a cam on the cage and record it to see how/where she still manages to squeeze herself through. I only did the front and back panel, as I figure those are the only points that have slightly wider gaps between bars.

I'm gonna pick up my order for chinese food now : tomato soup - springroll - nasi goreng and chicken... yummy!

Houdini?

After just picking some things up, and doing some shopping I feel like I've run a marathon! I got the ring I was talking about, picked up some metal gazing to cover the ferrets cage with, as Tisha keeps on escaping.

For their own safety, the ferrets should remain in their cage whenever I'm not around. Sure, that sounds pretty boring and harsh, but it really is not. Ferrets are too curious and like to explore too much for their own good. They are blind to danger, and just dive in head first. While it is one of the reasons I decided to get ferrets, it is exactly that behaviour that makes it dangerous when not supervised.

And since that little Houdini manages to squeeze herself through the smallest gaps, I don't want to find out that she's manouvered herself into a position where she can't get out of anymore.

Female equals bitch?

Grrrr... what have I done??? I've added - over the years - multiple male ferrets to my all male bunch of fuzzballs, without any problem, and the day I add two females to it I run into problems.

That little devil manages to crawl under the sofa! I just had to move my sofa all over the place before I managed to get a hold of the little bitch again. Sure, she looks cute... I think I might have found a solution though... remove some parts (check photo's below) to lower the sofa to the ground. That'll fix the "crawling under" problem.

Arrghhh! Where the hell is she?Arrghhh! Where the hell is she?
Lowering the sofa...

However, she also keeps on attacking the other ferrets, whereas the other new female doesn't pose any problem. When I corrected her she even nipped my nose. Luckily I'm used to handling ferrets and don't mind a nip or two. It's probably just stress induced nipping and it'll pass over time. When she starts to feel at home it won't pose a problem anymore.

I still recall when I took Max & Happy in... My hands, feet and fingers were bleeding constantly for the first 3 weeks. Ferrets handle stress very badly.

New fuzzies

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Futsy

Ticha

As you can see... I've adopted two new fuzzies. Both are female, born in the first half of 1999. I took my three boys along and put the five of them together. Some squeeks and noises, but nothing major. After about 10 minutes (or even less) I put all of them into the carrier and head off to home. During the ride home, apparently Ticha (the second photo) kept on biting Bono, who - dumbass as he is - didn't fight it. He just squeeked. Weird ferrets I've got.

When I got home, I let all of them run free for about thirty minutes, while I replaced one of the hammocks with a new one (I bought two instead of making them myself) and I dropped all of them in their cage. Once again some squeeks and turning around, but now everything is quiet on the ferret front.

I don't like the names Ticha and Futsy though... Feel free to suggest new names for the two fuzzies. Remember, they are females, so the name should be kinda female sounding. Oh, and preferably something that sounds like their current names... after nearly 4 years it's not that obvious to get a totally new name.

New blood?

I've been working with ferrets all day long (10h00 till 18h30) and I'm pretty tired, even though there were not that much people. Apparently saturday is quite a bit slower as sunday, when looking at the number of visitors. On the other hand, today we worked the fair with only 3 people in total, tomorrow BFL will have a crew of 9...

I was even offered to adopt 2 ferrets, really cute ones too, but unfortunately they're females and I already have 3 male ferrets. It's not that it would be a terrible problem, but somehow I don't feel like bringing fights and chaos into my current group. No offense to anyone, but female ferrets tend to be more dominant when it comes to social behaviour. Apart from that, the three boys are aproximately 5-6 years old, and the two females are only 3.

It would be a nice way to bring some new blood in the group though. I've got to be realistic and consider the fact that my current ferrets will not be there forever. I'll have to think it over, and maybe I should try if the females fit into the group. After all, I introduced more ferrets into various groups before, and it never really posed any problems, but all of them were males.

Damn, it seems I'm already considering taking them in! Actually, why not? If I don't, they'll have a hard time finding another home, as they need to be placed together - they are sisters and it wouldn't be wise to separate them - and not everyone is interested in adopting 2 ferrets at once, especially when they're already 3 years old.

See? I'm really considering it now. I'll see what news comes along with the new week, and since there should be a BFL meeting somewhere during the week, I might discuss details.

Heather : Yes... unlike women, we have quiet times too :D

Sparkling water douche

Rofl... I was cleaning up in the kitchen while the three carpetsharks were loose and roaming the livingroom and kitchen. Suddenly I heard a "phsssstttt" but I couldn't really say what it was. However, since I know every sound around my place, I immediately realized that it was out of the ordinary, and with those three monsters at large, I never take any chances. I dropped everything and stepped out of the kitchen to see what was causing the noise.

That's when I spotted Max. He was standing next to a plastic bottle of sparkling water that he knocked over, and looked very suprised. He had bitten in the bottom of the bottle, and was now being showered with sparkling water.

I quickly picked up the bottle and that's when he looked up to me and sort of said "Hey human... it seems this carpet is completely wet! Shouldn't you be taking care of that instead of taking away my toy?"

Yepz... one never knows what's up next with ferrets ruling the house...

Red lights = Good?

Things you shouldn't attempt while cooking, and when 3 ferrets are wrecking havoc around the house :

Clean the deepfreezer. I took 1 drawer out in order to throw some stuff out, didn't have time to let it defrost (since there is still good stuff in it too, like wodka), so I just slashed off the largest pieces of ice that blocked everything and caused problems. While I was busy handling the drawer, of ourse the three carpetsharks came over to investigate.
Frozen water is much better as the fresh water they get every day. Especially when you can lick it off the ground and off small pieces of ice that have fallen down. Right. But then, while I was keeping watch from the corner of my eye, Max decided to check out where exactly all this lovely water and ice was coming from, and he actually climbed two drawers up in the freezer, happily walked into the free slot and looked around.
Imagine a ferret walking into a working deepfreezer that has an approximate temperature of -12�C. That's exact what happened. Luckily I know my boys so I saw it happening and I could grab him before he started licking cooling elements and other things ferrets might decide doing while walking around in a freezer. Incredible... you turn your back for 10 seconds and they invade your freezer!

I continued cleaning the drawer (after closing the door of the freezer) and when I replaced the drawer and closed the door, a red light started blinking, and a loud audible (wow.. nice word!) signal was available too. Funny... I don't think red lights and sounds are basic features of a freezer, and I guess they must mean something serious. It surely ain't a ferret alarm, since I made sure no more ferrets were playing in ice-land anymore.

Too bad that I do have the manual somewhere, yet I haven't got any clue where exactly. I pressed some buttons, then a yellow light went on, the sound stopped and the red light kept blinking. 1 alarm down, 1 to go. After 5 minutes the red light went off, I pushed some more buttons and the yellow went off too. Now I only got a green light, which probably is good.

When I wake up and find my kitchen drowned and in a mess, it wasn't. But that... that's something to worry about tomorrow.

Damn... almost scared the shit outta me!

I was just browsing the site of one of the belgian newspapers when I noticed an article stating that as of today, june 1st 2002, only a limited amount of mammals may be kept by residential owners. It's a list that contains what mammals can be kept, and for all mammals NOT on the list, the owner has to get permission from the Minister for Animal Welfare, Magda Aelvoet. She can then grant permission for up to 5 years, but the initial procedure can take up to 6 months.

All mammals already in possession - and not mentioned on the list - must be accounted for by means of a statement from a vet, or proof of purchase with a date preceding the date of june 1st 2002.

I almost shit my pants... not that I keep very exotic animals, but I've got 3 ferrets and those boys are my kids. Unfortunately, the newspaper didn't include what animals were mentioned on that list, so I had to go digging for it. After about 15 minutes I digged up the draft from september 20th, 2001 (dated january 28th 2002 on the site) thru the official website of the federal government. A quick check, and whats on position number 4 : Mustela furio (which is actually not correct, as the correct latin name is Mustela putorius furo) aka ferrets. Phew... no problems for my babies :)

Links : List of mammals allowed - Search @ federal government

Ferret problems

When I was about to leave for work this morning, something bad happened. Bono - my 5 year old albino ferret - jumped out of his cage, the same wicked way he always does, but it seems he got stuck with one of his nails. I heard something was wrong while he was sliding down, and when I approached to check it out I saw the blood.

I immediately realized that blood wasn't good, but after checking him out and calming him down with some ferretone, it turned out he pulled out the far left nail of his left front paw. Not a good thing, but on the other hand, it could have been worse if he had broken a toe or so. The bleeding stopped after a while, but I called the vet just to check what I should do. She confirmed that it was not that bad, and that the bleeding would stop soon.

By the time I was done talking to the vet, Bono was already in his cage, eating his food, so I guess he'll be fine. I checked once more, but the bleeding completely stopped now and he'll survive for sure. Still, I'm not really concentrating on whatever that should keep me busy today, but my mind will be in the ferret cage all day.

King of the Jungle

Erm... forget that. I ain't King of nothing, unless of my own kingdom that consists of my home. And even there the ferrets are the real Kings. But I really don't mind... If I would be unhappy that they rule my kingdom, I'd revolt. But I feel pretty damn good in a Ferret ruled kingdom, and that's just the way it should be. Ferrets don't worry about anything, they just need food, water, lotsa sleep and playtime. Give them a pretty cozy cage, hammocks and lotsa toys and they'll entertain you whenever they're awake. I can live with it. It keeps me positive and optimistic at all times. All the stuff that happens around me, all the problems and stress... they just slide off me. I'm a rock with a silver coating.

Never mind. I don't expect you to understand. I suggest you just go back to your pathethic stressed life, and roam around your cubicle a bit more. Make sure that you don't forget to be rude, unfriendly and certainly unhelpful to whomever speaks to you, or seeks a helping hand. After all, if you are an unhappy and stressed loser, it wouldn't be right is anybody else felt good, would it? ;-)

You just can't touch me... I've got my own kingdom... beat that!

King under Ferrets,

ServMe.

It's been an OK day, apart from the fact that when I woke up this morning my back was aching. Haven't done anything special yesterday, so there is no obvious reason for it. During the day, it didn't improve, but didn't get worse either. I just came home about 30 minutes ago, and now I just feel like dying. I'm not really hungry (or, I might be, but I don't have an urge to eat), although I only had a quick snack this morning, I feel tired and warm. And I can hardly focus on my screen. Hey, if all of the above is real, why don't I just go to bed and sleep it all out? I wish I could, but I've got a meeting at 20h00, so I gotta leave in about 1 and a half hour. That's the reason not to crash into bed right away.

I could ofcourse call them and say that I can't make it, but then I block other people coz the meeting is about the upcoming BFL meeting on sunday 16th of December and I should really be there. Not that there is a lot that's gonna be different from the other years (after all, this is my 3rd or 4th year that I help organize the thing) but some small details might change, or some of the people with less experience might have questions. So I'd better be there tonight, or things could get a whole lot more difficult as needed on the 16th.

There is another reason too... I asked Marc to bring some cheweasel along to the meeting, coz today is the 5th and Saint-Micolas will be bringing around presents tonite. Since I don't know if Saint-Nicolas also does a tour for ferrets, I will make sure that the three carpet sharks will find some cheweasel tomorrow when they leave their cage. I can't/won't disappoint them furballs. I doubt if they know who is Saint-Nicolas, but I can already see their happy faces when they find the treats ;)

Gonna eat some fruit now... hope the extra vitamins will pull me through, or at least keep me going till friday evening. Then I can easily crash during the weekend. If Joco and Eef don't decide to deliver a baby that is ofcourse!!

I just lost one of the boys. It is a sad day.

Fritz... in my heart you'll live on forever!I was planning on driving to Hasselt to visit an international animal happening, where the BFL (Belgian Ferret League) always is present and see if I could help out, but I ended up driving to my vet to have one of the ferrets put to sleep. Fritz - my very first ferret - wasn't too well the last months, slept an awful lot, and when awakened, didn't play too much. He was still eating well, and drinking too, yet he kept loosing weight. Last night I picked him up and decided to make him a nutritional mix of food to see if I could get some more flesh on him again. He liked the mix and ate some. When I checked today, I found him laying on the bottom of the cage, all cramped and dirty. I immediately called the vet and drove off with him. Unfortunately I also realized that it wouldn't be possible to save Fritz anymore.
When I arrived at the vet's place - Joke was the vet on call - she took a look at Fritz and diagnosed quickly. Every sign of kidney defici�ncy was there, and considering that he was nearly 5 years old, there was not much left for us to do. I asked her to put him to sleep. There is no point in keeping one of my ferrets alive, or even trying if everyone realizes that the battle has been lost. Then the only sane choice to make is to help the animal and let him go. It is with very much pain in my heart that I took the descision, but knowing that I saved him a lot of pain and misery, makes it bearable.

I don't know yet how I'm gonna react to this loss, as I know myself. I either react very extreme and go off to look for extreme things to make me cope with the loss, or I put myself over it and realize that there are 3 other boys (Bono, Max and Happy) that depend on my to care for them. I've hugged all three remaining ferrets and they played along while I cleaned and disinfected the cage. They do realize that one is missing, just not completely. I'll have to keep a very close watch on them to see how they handle to loss of their senior ferret.

Note : For those that know me personally and want to send feedback on the loss of Fritz, feel free to do so. However, I would appreciate it if you didn't call me about it in the next few days. Thanks.

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