CHINOOK the FERRET: My Last Day With My Best Friend

by Tim Smith
(Phoenix, AZ USA)

Click on each photo to enlarge.

Chinook was my pet ferret and he was my best friend on 4 legs. We found Chinook 8 years ago on a cold winter night in Phoenix, AZ. He was lost, cold, and hungry. We immediately took him into our homes and into our hearts. Because of his size and he was well trained, we expected him to be at least 2 years old when we found him and had him for 8 wonderful years. I have built my life around my ferret more so after we got him a companion named Nikomi and he died at a very young age of cancer at 1 and half years old.

Every waking moment, I spent with my ferret besides the everyday routines, as shopping, going to work etc. All my free time was spent with him and now he is gone.

He got sick around October of 2011 right around Halloween. We felt something hard in his side and knew right away he had cancer just like Nikomi. Chinook displayed the text book symptoms of cancer. There is no way we were going have his remaining months extended with needle injections or treatments that would make him sicker just to extend his life a few months.

In the end, Chinook had no strength in his back legs and whimpered a lot. We had to lay him down in certain positions for him to relax peacefully. Within the last 48 hours, he took a turn for the worst. He could no longer make it to the liter box, and would not eat. I immediately took the week off at work and knew his time would be soon.

I made the decision to put him down Tuesday afternoon when Peter came home. He was going to take him to the vet because I did not have the strength to do so. I spent the day with him on the floor cuddle in a blanket listening to the sounds of ocean waves, seagulls and harps trying to relax him for 8 hours. I noticed his breathing was getting very shallow and he was not whimpering that much but had no strength and decided to let him go on his own. So I told Peter I wanted to hold off on the vet. I knew what Nikomi’s death did to me, almost destroyed me handing him over to a stranger to put to sleep. We did not want to go through that again so we decided to give him one more day. Peter definitely did not want to do this either but would if he had to, that was his promise to Nookie.

Chinook’s last meal was a snack, 3 small pieces of dry food and a couple of licks of ferrettone. He had a couple of licks of water and that was his last. His last day, I spent the whole day petting him gently, crying, telling him it was okay to go, praying to God, Jesus, my Dad that passed away 8 months ago and St. Francis anyone in Heaven that would listen. I wanted Chinook to go on his own not us playing God and making the decision for him but was willing to do it if he did not go within 24 hours just because at this point there was zero quality of life for my fuzzy friend.

I kissed him good night and put him in his bed when I could no longer keep my eyes open at 11pm Tuesday night, at this point only having 4 hours of sleep in the last 24 hours. I got up at 5am as I always have for the last 8 years. I always got up early in the morning so he could have his morning play time before I went to work even though this last 5 months, it was me taking him out of the cage and lie him down on the floor petting him. He enjoyed the time and after an hour or so, he would attempt eagerly tried to crawl to his cage to get his morning treat and have his food bowl and water changed. He would never make it but would flop down exhausted but once I picked him up and put him in his cage, he would eat with joy, then crawl in his bed, flop his blanket around and snuggle for a day’s sleep while I would take a shower and get ready for work.

Wednesday morning, I found Chinook had died; his eyes wide open but his upper neck stiff but his lower body was very limp. I let out an anguish yell of grief and called for Peter and he came out. He picked up his body and he was still very warm so was told Chinook must have just passed away moments before I came out in the living room. I woke up at 5am but didn’t go into the living room where his Nations ferret cage was. I just missed his passing. When I came in the living room, Peter asked me if I wanted to hold him and I did. His body was so warm and I mourn and wailed. Chinook was like my kid and I have forever been altered, forever changed. I held him I am not sure how long but when I gave him back to Peter his eyes were closed. Whoever is reading this may not believe this part of Chinook’s passing but I felt like he knew we were there for him, holding him and letting him know how much we loved him. His body died but I think his mind was active long enough for him to know we had him in our arms before his eyes gently closed. When I found this dark color sable ferret 8 years ago, cold, shivering in my arms, hungry and scared, I promised him, we promised him, we would protect him, give him a good life.

Chinook had a life of lots of playtime, a ferret playmate even though Nikomi’s time with us was short; I helped him out of his depression of his loss for Nikomi and his first family. He had lots of toys, and never displayed any cabin fever type behavior in the cage. He never bit his cage or paced back and forth so I knew he had a lot of “we time” outside his cage.

Most importantly, I promised him I would protect him and I knew he must have missed his original family and I would give him a good life. Fast forward 8 years later, on 2-22-12, I held my Chinook, old, faille, and gray with age. I felt the warmth of his body heat against my body and held him until his body went cold. When I handed him to Peter to gently wrapped him in one of his favorite blankets that is when Peter noticed his eyes were closed. He closed his eyes while I held him and I didn’t even know it. That was Chinook’s last gift to me. I love you Chinook and I am crying hysterically as I write this, My home is filled with ghost memories of you and I, WE will never, never , never forget you.

God Bless you Chinook. You and Nikomi are now in Heaven, dooking and playing among the clouds and beyond the grassy hills of the Rainbow Bridge, free of pain, free of restrictions, and surrounded by the love of our loved ones and the Good Lord.
Rest in Peace Chinook
We love you.
Tim and Peter Smith

"This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head." Ephesians 1:10

"Wolves and sheep will live together in peace, and leopards will lie down with young goats, calves and lion cubs will feed together, and little children will take care of them. Cows and bears will eat together, and their calves and cubs will lie down in peace. Lions will eat straw as cattle do . . . The land will be as full of knowledge of the Lord as the seas are full of water." Isaiah 11:6-9

Comments for CHINOOK the FERRET: My Last Day With My Best Friend

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Apr 04, 2017
loss of a loved one
by: Anonymous

I've been reading all the heart braking stories and am in tears. I've lost many animals in the last few years, not ferrets but little ratties, bearded dragons, bosc monitors and I loved them all to bits, they were my babies. In one year I lost 14 babies, even the vets couldn't believe the bad luck and they knew how I looked after them, nothing was too good and if anything was wrong, I was straight up the vets. its cost thousands but I would pay all I have if I could have them back, happy and healthy. I now have rescued a little boy ferret, nobody wanted him and he was at the RSPCA for 7 months. After all my bad luck, i didn't know if i could go through it all again, I couldn't decide what to have,as the ratties can get breathing trouble that cannot be cured, after lots of meds, nebulising, etc i decided i couldn't go through that again. The house was so empty (even though I still had snakes, it isn't quite the same).His name is Max, he didn't know how to play but we are getting there. Hes a bit skinny and doesn't know what meat or treats are, keep trying things but no joy. Hes absolutely gorgeous, hes all i think about and my life revolves around him. i worry about every little thing as hes not a young man, reckon hes about 8, but i will give him all my love and the best life i can. Hes been given a clean bill of health at the moment so i hope hes got a few years that i can love and protect him.

Mar 17, 2017
by: PA...

My rescue, Dodge from the garage... Passed an hour ago after 7 days of all the best I could do for him... R.I.P. Little sweet one...

Oct 31, 2016
Little Guys Touch Our Hearts Like No Other
by: Zeekie

I last posted the night before we put our Zeekie to rest. We had 3 ferrets Demon was 8 we put down July 2015, Zeekie was 10 we had to put down December 2015 and Spazz was 9 who died in my husband's arms a month after Zeekie. We watched helpless as Spazz grieved himself to death from the loss of Zeekie. Never under estimate the love ferrets have for each other. We gave Spazz so much love and held him all of the time after Zeekie died. A humans love could not replace the love Zeekie and Spazz shared. We had each of them cremated and since we live in an apartment haven't decided where to put their ashes. We want for them to be kept together. I still cry when I dust the shelf where I keep the ashes with each ones favorite toy. All three were deaf and for the last year or so Zeekie was blind.

We decided to get 2 baby ferrets a few months after our Spazzie passed. Tinker and Turbo are now a year old and are now joined by Mooshie, 4 months old. All 3 can hear and have totally different personalities than our last 3.

I love my new babies even though it took me a while to bond with them. I know in my heart that you loved Chinook as much as I loved my Zeekie. I can tell you that nothing will replace the love you shared with your little guy. But my new little guys are helping me to stop grieving and appreciate every minute I had with him. Their little lives are short but full of happiness, fun and love. I know they feel love for each other and their humans because I've witnessed it with my own eyes. You saved him and gave him all the love in your heart. Ferrets are so special and others don't understand why we love them so much. Thank you for your original post, it help me so much. I have found peace with my loss, i hope in time you will too.

Oct 26, 2016
by: Allissa

I had to put my little fur baby Bowser down yesterday morning after only 3 1/2 years with him. We brought him to the vet because he started getting very tired and would lie down after a short amount of play time and then we noticed he was losing weight. At this point he was still eating and drinking and going to bathroom. At the vets office Bowser had peed on the floor and I noticed it was very green and not normal. I showed the vet and he said it was a bladder infection and gave us antibiotics to give him. He seemed to get a bit better, played a little more and was still eating. He had a check up after a week and everything seemed to be OK, we were told to continue on the antibiotics. A few days after he started declining, he was barely going to the bathroom and not eating a lot. We brought him back to the vet and he gave us a liquid food to feed him through a syring and an antiinflammatory shot for his swollen bladder. He ate little bits of it but he really didn't like it. He just kept declining and we brought him in on an emergency basis because he was now to weak to walk and was still not going to the bathroom. The vet took and ultrasound and saw that his lymph nodes near his rear we 4 times larger than normal. We were told it could be Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Lymphoma. He gave him another antiinflammatory shot, some antibiotics and a nutrition shot. He said if he starts getting better it IBD and can be treated. If not it's Lymphoma. He didn't get much better, he could no longer get up or stand up on his own, we were force feeding him and having him drink drops off our finger tips. We waited a day to see if he would get better but sadly he did not. We kept him in one of his favorite sleeping huts in between us on our bed through the night. I did not sleep, waking up almost hourly to check and see if he was still with us.In the mornimg he had not moved a single inch from where we last left him. We knew he would not be with us much longer. We made the decision to bring him to the vet one last time hoping there was anything else the could do for him but getting prepared for the worst. We made the decision to put him to sleep so he would no longer be in pain and suffering. It was peaceful and I had the time to say goodbye and kiss him and rub his face at his very last moments. I haven't stopped crying but I know he's in a better place, no more pain. My other ferret Jack seems to be taking OK so far. I was really worried about him becoming depressed. They were really close.

Jul 18, 2016
I am devastated...
by: Lindsey

I to spent the last day with my beautiful boy today. Flynn was 7 years old and over the last 8 months has been to hell and back. Firstly in December, his brother chewed his ear right off. We found Flynn the next day weak with infection and dehydration. The wonder vets saved him and he healed beautifully, all be it with one ear! He was still handsome, and cuddly. Thanks to the Manuka honey his hair grew back on his wound beautifully. Two months ago he developed Insulinoma, so drugs to manage that. Then came the Adrenal disease. The suprelorin implant worked like magic for a month. Flynn developed a cyst on his abdomen, anti-biotics didn't clear it. Yesterday it started to bleed out, slightly. Late last night he started to cough. Today I knew it was our last day together. We cuddled, sat under the sun in the gazebo and I told him how much we loved him and how special he was/is. He was a kisser never a biter. we took the decision to have our beautiful boy put to rest. He knew it was time, he was so calm and rested. His eyes were open for a short while and closed when I was holding him, loving him. I am a wreck. His care consumed many hours but he was so special. I miss my boy :( RIP my sweet Flynn-Bo xx

Dec 07, 2015
Little guys touch your heart like no other
by: Zeekie

I understand your pain. My little guy Zeekie was brought home by my daughter 10 years ago. He was given to her from a friend and was about a year old. He was a blaze and looked just like your Chinook with the panda markings and the white stripe on the top of his head. She moved out and left him with me. He has insulinoma and it has gotten the best of him. Most of his hair is gone, but he still has that adorable face. I found your post looking for comfort as we have to put him down tomorrow. He is in pain and I can't stand to watch him suffer. His zest for life and his happiness in playing with me has brought me through some of the toughest times in my life. You just can't be depressed when a ferret is in your life, they just won't allow it. I have had cats and dogs but they just don't capture your heart like a ferret. Something about those little guys that can't be explained. I am losing my best friend and tomorrow my life will be forever changed. Thank you Zeekie for 10 awesome years of love and laughter. I love you and you will missed but never forgotten. This is my last day with my ferret Zeekie. Thank you for your post. It helps knowing there are others who feel this pain as deeply as I do.

Sep 22, 2015
I feel your pain
by: Troy

I lost my baby girl Penny 10 days ago. She was only 2 years old, she was anemic. She was so frail and had no energy in the end. My wife and I held her the night before we took her to the vet, neither of us really wanted to face the truth of the situation until it was happening. Her quality of life was not good. I can't get our visit to the vet out of my mind. It was the first pet I have ever put down, I know in my heart it was the right thing to do, but I just feel like I failed in protecting her. I have cried every day since we lost her, and I have went years and years without crying. We still have our first ferret, Rogue, who is 3 years old. My wife and I are planning on getting 2 more ferrets soon, so they have each other, if Rogue is not into them. (She is a terrific ferret but loves people more than other ferrets, and she is deaf which may hamper her with understanding interactions with her own kind, and she is a definite alpha female). I feel that ferrets are very misunderstood by the General community, and i want to give as many of these awesome animals a good home as I can. Penny was such a sweet girl, so soft. I will always miss her.

Aug 24, 2015
by: Anne

I share in your grief. Just lost my baby girl, Wheezie last night after over 7 years. Cage mates left last year and she was doing pretty well, just depressed at times. She got sick about 3 weeks ago and went to vet . Got amox to give her. It was awful. Took her back 3 days later to have her put to sleep. Vet gave her baytril. Awful again. I gave her tagamet for two days and she rebounded for over 2 weeks. Then Saturday night she bloated and down hill from there. She was in agony last night. Stick her head out straight, lie flat, would not go in her cage or her cube to sleep. Seemed hot. Would look at me to not leave her. I had to sleep around 12 mighnight and left her in the bd with her sleeping shirt and such. During the night she moved to her cage underneath. That is where I found her this morning. I should have stayed with her all night like before. I have guilt for not staying there with her. All alone. She followed me everywhere. I miss her so. Burial later today. I can't stand to go into the room. Hand fed her for months to make sure she ate. Never found out what was wrong. Maybe ulcers from losing her friends. I guess she loved me so much that she tried to hang on. Awful.

Aug 22, 2015
my ferret jasper died
by: Anonymous

I miss jasper so much he died August7, 2015 i try not to cry but i miss him so much but what hurts so bad my mother died three years ago and i miss jasper more than her and i think its because i knew jasper loved me but my mom never really told me or said it. Thank you for talking with me. Love Phillis

Mar 14, 2015
I understand what you feeling...
by: Eva N

Yesterday 3/13/2015 I lost may Zuza, almost 7 years old ferret.
I have her blanket, I can smell her scent... Most difficult - I will never touch, kiss her again... I will never see how she plays with her toys ( she had a rubber dugs what she took care about all the time :) ) how she eats her favorite oxbow soup. I have broken heart. When time will come hope I will see her one day again...

Nov 09, 2014
Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you for sharing your story. My fiance and I lost both of our ferrets within a month of each other, and we are so heartbroken. The oldest ferret, Tavi, also passed from cancer at age 8. Then within a month, her cage mate, Little, developed an ulcer from what we believe was grief and stress over losing Tavi. We had to syringe feed her food and water for a couple of days. She seemed to be improving but then took a sharp decline yesterday. Unfortunately, the only ferret specialist in our area did not have an appointment until almost a week from now. She just passed away this morning and we are beyond ourselves. Little was 7 years old so she also lived a long life. It just breaks my heart that she essentially couldn't live without Tavi.

Aug 25, 2014
It's so hard...
by: Catrina

We lost our precious four year old ferret, Clyde, to cancer early yesterday morning. He had only been showing signs of sickness for two days. I thought he had a blockage and he didn't appear to be too distressed so I gave him some hairball remedy and hoped he'd pass whatever was in him sometime overnight. He didn't pass anything, and his poo was like tiny little tic tacs. I got him to the vet first thing Friday and his vet did an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a huge tumor on his right kidney and multiple tumors on his abdomen lymph nodes. He seemed like he wasn't doing too bad and we thought we could have the weekend with him so we brought him home with some doses of pain killer with the plans of bringing him in on Monday to be put to sleep. Oh how my heart broke for him all Friday evening and into the wee hours, watching the cancer eat him up far faster than we thought it would. Not even 16 hours after the diagnosis he was gone. I am devastated. Literally devastated. I want my baby back. :o(

Aug 21, 2014
Thank you..
by: Anonymous

My little Missy just left today for that wonderful place you speak of.. Thank you for sharing you story.. I am in too much pain to talk about our little girl. I am sure you know how we feel..

Bless you for caring so much for something so little.. I wish the world had more people like you and you husband..

Jun 22, 2014
Chinook 3 Years Later
by: Tim Smith

Thank you for all your kind words and I am also sorry for your recent loss. I am in a depression still over Chinook and it is going on 3 years. Everyone grieves in their own way. Do not let people put a time limit on your grief. Everyone is different. I have written children's books, an e book, countless memorial sites, name my ebay account after Chinook. Chinook's Treasures. Countless videos, wrote an poem, planted an tree, have his ashes with me, have a battery control candle go on every night, and last but least, hired an song writer and singer to make an song about Chinook. Google "ODE TO CHINOOK THE FERRET" You will come across the video and song. I have bought every ferret related book and movie with ferrets in it but I will never get another ferret. I am literally a broken man and this irritates my other half and my family but I cant help it. I am suppose time will hear all wounds. My suggestion is to pray for God to heal your broken heart, that is what I am doing but I personally have a long way to go.

May 22, 2014
by: Anonymous

I know your pain. I just lost my ferret a week ago to cancer and she was only a year and a half. I couldnt bare the thought of her being in pain so i had her put down. A week before, i had takin her to the vet where they just said she was constipated but it turned out she had cancer. I have had a lot of pets and she was my favorite. I have another ferret that thought of her as a mother but i feel really sad that he doesnt have a playmate any longer. My question for you is how did you get over it? What kind of activities or thoughts helped you though. I am still so depressed over it and miss her so much i can barely stand it.

Apr 10, 2014
im sorry for your loss
by: Anonymous

my ferret died last night he was only 4 i thought he had gone into dead sleep or natrual causes he was my life we were pals and buds he was the most cuddle ferret ever i spent the whole night crying i know how you fell trust me but like all good things in life they must come to a end all i know is he is in the golden fields called heaven and chinhook is in a better place were he is stress free and is happy you will get to see him again in another life he will always be watching you its always hard to lose such a close pet best wishes CJ Burdi rest in peace

Apr 14, 2013
ferret lover
by: Anonymous

Im lying in bed with my littler siddie,,,shes a seven year old ferret shes mom to my 2 other ferrets 'bodger & Badger'.
Badger sadly died about a year ago of cancer,i found he'd died in his cage in the morning as i left for work.
siddie currently rests on my with Bodger,shes slowly dying of a tumour behind her right eye.
ive found that very small amounts of oral morph keeps her pain free and free from dis comfort,shes due at the vet tomorow and im sure the vet will suggest putting her to sleep but shes eating and drinking ok,,,and now sleeps so comfortably and soundly that i find i almost cant face having her put to sleep.
she's spent the last 3days fast asleep on my bed,in my bed with a hot water bottle next to her eating fresh steak so i completly share your pain and am in tears as i write this knowing what i face at the vets tomorow.
The morphine has almost brought the siddie i know back shes eating,drinking and obviously sleeping ok,i just wish she could talk.
Anyway much love guys just wanted you to know that your letter touched me.

Jan 10, 2013
by: Anonymous

beautifull story! but the thing i dont understand is that family that lost him will be in so much pain wondering what happend to there ferret, i lost my little girl recently, it hurts to wonder what happend to her and i hope someone returns her or i wish she can come back home.

Jul 03, 2012
Dear friends
by: Anonymous

last week my litle angel, Indio, the sweetest 11 month ferret of the world escaped home. The place where I live is next to the mountain and sorrowded by no matter how hard and desperately we tried to find him we couldn't. All our neighbourds tried to hepl us. Unfourtunately some of them saw him but did not know what animal he was and scared him out. It's been a week and we are losing hopes, yesterday we have the first snow of the winter and was extremely cold here in Mendoza Argentina. We are so very sad, we feel a hole in our soulds... we only share 8 months with him, the happiest 8 months of our lives... he changed us forever... what I mean is that even though your are so sad and I truly understand your sorrows you should know you are the luckiest people in the world... you spend with your ferret 8 years and had the chance to hold min on your arms as he passed away... we instead can not find peace and feel sorrounded by sorrow...We can't get rid of the pain..
Cintia, Daniel, lil Viki and santy.

Mar 06, 2012
Thank you for Chinook Comments
by: Tim Smith

Thank you everyone for your kind comments. Your kindness is appreciated. God Bless

Feb 27, 2012
by: Kristy

Tim and Peter,
I know just how you feel. I lost my little angel, a long-haired dachshund named Porkchop (he was already named when I got him.)He was the light of my life. Like Chinook, he too gradually lost the use of his back legs.I made the heart-wrenching decision to have him put down because he had canine dementia and would get "lost" in the house and would be so frightened by the time that we got to him. He had also gone blind.I also have his sister, a short-haired dachshund. We buried him in one of his favorite spots and we let his sister see him before, hoping she would understand, but since she has also lost most of her eyesight, she does not seem to understand and she still is looking for him. It absolutely tears at my heart. I am also second guessing myself and wondering if I did the right thing in putting him down.In his last months, he would only eat from my hands.I would give my last dollar to be able to hold him in my arms again and feed him. I lost him on February 22 and I feel that my life is at a standstill.So as you can see, I too understand your feelings. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.I know how much you are hurting.

Feb 26, 2012
so sorry
by: veronica

Hello Tim and Peter,

I am so sorry for the loss of your best friend. Having just lost my little Snow - my Ikigai (the reason I woke up in the morning) on December 12th to a driver going too fast, I know exactly what you are going thru. Our lives wrap around these wonderful balls of fur and they give us so much love in return. Its been twelve weeks since I held my little girl while she passed away and not a day goes by that I haven't cried my eyes out. Like you, my daily routine revolved around her, from the minute I woke up until the kiss in her ear each night. So what do we do now? For 4 1/2 years she was my life and now I really don't have much desire to do anything. I have thrown myself into projects around the house just to keep busy but the pain in my heart has get to subside. One thing I did in her honor was to have a wonderful granite grave marker made which included an etching of a picture of her. If you are interested in getting one for Chinook let me know and I'll send you the link for the company.

May your thoughts of Chinook be only happy ones and may the pain of losing Chinok be replaced with thoughts of the love you shared.

All the best to you both.



Feb 26, 2012
What a beautiful boy
by: Denise

A beautiful tribute to a beautiful boy. God bless and comfort you in your season of grief. Chinook was definitely blessed to have had you as his beloved friend.

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