Posted: January 1, 2011, 5 a.m. EST
© Courtesy Rose Wozniak
After being missing for more than a week, Snatch was finally located and reunited with Rose.
The week dragged on. We found ourselves reacting to the sound of squirrels, spinning around when leaves were rustled, hoping that Snatch would be there. We found ourselves hovering at windows, hoping to get a glimpse of silver. By that Thursday, we brought his cage inside. The weather was changing and threatening to soil his blankets and litter and food. I began to spin stories in my mind.
“Everything happens for a reason,” I told myself.
“Perhaps, since he is so old, it was his time; he wanted to experience life in the wild in his last days.”
“Perhaps, I am not supposed to be with him when he passes. The image of his lifeless body would be too much for me to cope with, so He took him away so I would not have to witness it.”
I would pray that the fall off the deck resulted in serious injuries and a coyote or hawk swooped him up, a swift and painless death. The mere thought of him shivering and hungry under a tree was too horrible to imagine.
By Friday, these thoughts did little to soothe my worries, and I had given up hope. Jason continued to tell me not to worry. He had a feeling that Snatch would come home. Though I thought he was crazy, I would reflect on a dream I had two days before Snatch escaped. I dreamt that we were on a cruise and the boat had an emergency in which all passengers were forced to evacuate. Once the emergency subsided, we were allowed back on the boat to “retrieve our pet ferrets” (apparently, this was a ferret cruise?). One at a time, everyone found their beloved pets. They would crawl out of holes and from under furniture, running to their loved ones. Each time my heart would flutter a bit, hoping it was my silver Snatch. It never was. Days went by and all the ferrets were found — but not mine. Just as I was giving up hope on our final day, Snatch emerged from under a door and came running into my arms. I woke up, confused and relieved. I began praying my dream was a premonition with the same ending.
On Saturday, we were working at the winery. Jason’s grandfather came in and pulled me aside, saying he had just talked with people who lived about a mile from us. “They told me this crazy story about finding a ferret. Could it have been yours?” I leaped, yelped, cried out! In a dizzying minute, we got the number for the people who found the ferret, and they provided us with the information to the Lakeroad Ferret Shelter, which I called immediately. I was set to pick up my boy the next afternoon!
That evening we reflected on Snatch’s journey. It still astonishes me that he survived! He first propelled down our 2-story deck. He trekked north. Between our house and the home where he was found is at least a mile of forest and vineyards (and predators!). Our homes are also divided by two gorges — manmade mega-ditches that wash excess water from the vineyards into the lake. Going blind, I cannot fathom how he could achieve such a feat!
By the time he arrived at the house, he had been outside, with below freezing temps overnight, for nearly five days. The family’s kindness to take him in and find him help will be forever appreciated. After Snatch returned home, we went to their house to thank them. They described their story. Snatch was first noticed late Tuesday night when they pulled into their driveway. A weasel? Perhaps a possum? Don’t touch it, it could be rabid! The following day, he was spotted again, this time playing in and over and around their pool cover. While I would love to image this as a gloriously fun experience for him, I know it was just to find some warmth. Soon enough he wandered to their front door, periodically curling up next to it and scratching at it (another favorite pastime). It was clear the little critter needed help. This was not a wild beast, it was a pet in search of food and heat and love. The family was able to get him into a cage where he spent the night in their home, eating the kibble used to feed their dog and cat. They transported him to Lakeroad Ferret Farm, an hour commute one way, the following evening.
Because of them and the complete, loving generosity of Lakeroad’s Shelter Mom, Brenda, and God who most certainly kept him alive during his journey, Snatch would certainly have not survived.
He has lost a significant amount of weight and continues to be quite lethargic. But I am hopefully that he will make a full recovery and we will have a blissful (and adventure-free) couple more years together. Thanks to shelter mom’s Duck Soup, he is well on his way to fattening back up. He is clearly, outrageously, ridiculously, relieved to be home, sleeping in our bed all night, every night. This has never happened before. Before the adventure, he much preferred the blanket on our floor over our bed. I am sure our days together from here on out will not only be filled with love, but also the development of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, checking doors 2,813 times a day!
Thank you again to all who helped in giving Snatch’s story a happily-ever-after and for loving him as immensely as we do.
Rose Wozniak is a ferret owner and school psychology doctoral candidate and interim director, Special Academic Services, at Alfred University.
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