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Chinook Is Dying And I Am Losing Myself


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It will be 3 years ago this February 27th since I posted on this site when my Nikomi passed away. We got this younger ferret for Chinook but he died from a rare cancer. Fast forward 3 years and I am dealing with the agony of losing Chinook. He is still with us but for how long, I do not know. He has a tumor and can't move that good since he pretty much drags his back legs. He is now having problems going to his liter box. He tries but has a hard time. I know I being selfless but I can't bear to lose him. I have been crying for 3 days straight, trying to give him all the attention he deserves. Let him feel the sunshine on his fur or the light breese of leaves hrough a tree. He looks forward to eatting and always wants let out of the cage so I know there is some joy in this world for him but I know his time is short. As I write this, I can hear him eatting in his cage but I wonder if he will be here with us next week. We already thought he wouldn't make it through Christmas. I have build my life around him which I know it is not healthy what is done is done. I build a small ebay buiness after him, Chinook's Treasures, my networking social sites user names was Chinook the Ferret. I made parody movie shorts on you tube with him and talked to anyone who cared to listen to me rant on about him like a parent would about their honor student. Now his time with us is coming to an end and at that I feel a strong part of me is dying with him. I feel like life has nothing more to offer and now I have to put on a happy face for the sake of my family and move on. I am going to miss my Nookie and have bought every stuffed animal ferret I can get my hands on. No more pets for me, I just can not deal anymore with this sense of loss. He is not even dead yet but the mourning process is already consuming my very being. I do not expect anyone to answer this post. I know pain. I lost my father to cancel 8 months ago and I cried over his death but to the extent of Chinook and Nikomi. I do not know what kind of person that makes me but my best friend, my animal companion will be gone soon, hopefully he goes by himself because it getting to the point when I will have to make that decision for him and I can not live through that again. I remember the vet saying to me, Nikomi was a fighter but he was in pain and his eyes looked up at me as his breathing slowed and his eyes closed. God please take my Chinook in his sleep and ease this unbearable pain.

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My dear Tim,

I remember you well, from the time that you first joined us in March of 2009, writing about your beloved Nikomi. I am so sorry to learn that Chinook is dying; I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you. I understand completely your statement that you did not cry over your father's death to the extent that you have cried over the loss of these precious fur babies. Someone once said the very same thing to me, comparing my reaction to my own father's death to that of the sudden, unexpected death of my beloved cockapoo. She failed to understand that my dog spent every waking moment with me, weaving himself into the very fabric of my daily life, whereas by that time in my life, I had grown accustomed to loving my father in his absence, since we lived a thousand miles apart. I knew then, as I know now, that the relationship we have with our animal companions is significantly different from the ones we have with humans: totally without baggage, pure, simple, and based on unconditional love. Is it any wonder that we become so attached to our fur babies, and miss them so much when they are gone? Here you don't need to explain why you love your Chinook so much, and why it tears your heart in two at the thought of losing him.

Nevertheless, it is clear from what you've written that Chinook is growing old, and the harsh reality is that one day he will die. Our beloved animals are mortal, just as we human beings are mortal, and one day all of us will die. I know this is very, very hard to accept ~ I just went through this myself; see my blog post about the death of my dog this past August, Saying Goodbye to Beringer ~ but I also think there comes a time when we must acknowledge death as an inevitable fact of life and, because our animal's life span is so much shorter than our own, we must prepare ourselves to say goodbye to them.

I read an article this morning that comes to mind. Entitled Our Unrealistic Attitudes about Death through a Doctor's Eyes, the author writes,

‎"The family may ask me to use my physician superpowers to push the patient's tired body further down the road, with little thought as to whether the additional suffering to get there will be worth it. For many Americans, modern medical advances have made death seem more like an option than an obligation. We want our loved ones to live as long as possible, but our culture has come to view death as a medical failure rather than life's natural conclusion."

My prayer for you, Tim, is that you will come to see Chinook's dying as the natural conclusion to what I know has been for him a truly wonderful life ~ and like you, I pray too that he will go by himself. If that is not to be, I know you will make the right decision out of your deep and abiding love for him, resisting the urge "to push [his] tired body further down the road." I know too that if you decide he needs your help to die, you will be ending his pain, only to begin your own. Whatever you decide, know that we are here to offer the support you need and deserve ♥

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It is official. Chinook is going to be put down this afternoon when my other half comes home from their intership. I had taken the rest of the week off and spending my last day with him. It kills me so. As each hour clicks, and the time is nearer for my other half to come home, I get wigged out. I am not viewing him as the Reaper but in some unexplained way I am. We are both in pain and crying, more so me. I had to get on this computer and type something out otherwise I would go mad with grief. I feel just a void in my life now and that is no disrespect to my signifient other but while he was going to school, I gave my 100% to Chinook. Tried to get him a companion (Nikomi, our other ferret that died at the age of 1 and half 3 years ago. RIP 2-27-09), gave him the world. Chinook had a good life considering we found him on a cold night 8 years ago. We have been very blessed. I can not stop wailing and crying and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I have a cd playing called "sea of tranquility" trying to calm myself and make Chinook relax. I am praying so hard to St. Francis, that he takes him to the Good Lord. I can't go through what I went through with Nikomi, not again. No more pets for me. Being shy and an introvert and gay, this journey is going to be hard and lonely. Sometimes, I wish my life would be over just to stop the pain. Living in a world when you have to pretend or dodge bullets in which my partner was already shot once, living in a world when a man cannot cry or show emotional weakness just have the ability to cry and not have someone call you a wus or gay for crying. It is just too hard pretending all the time. Chinook never judged me, he loved me unconditionally with all my good and bads and this animal gave me solace in so many dark hours. He was the light in the darkness for both of us. After today, Chinook will be gone and our lives will never be the same ever again. Life altering experience. There will be no more light just darkness.post-12750-13298437815487_thumb.jpg

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Dear Tim,

I know that by the you see this the grief you have expeiencing about your beloved Chinook will be almost unbearable. I am so sorry for your loss. I have lost pets and currently have a dog who is helping me through the loss of my husband. I appreciate your loss, believe me. I know someday my Bentley will be joining my husband and I understand the loss of a pet. I reach out to you in your pain.

Peace in knowing that you loved him,


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Thank you Mary and Marty. The Last 24 Hours Have been a Nightmare.

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


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Dear Tim and Peter,

I am so so sorry for your loss of your buddy, Chinook. Your pain and grief is huge, I know. I am so glad you were both there for Chinook all these years and in these last days of his life. I know, from what you shared, that he was a family member and that this loss is overwhelming for you. I am sorry. I still remember going through that with our last dog, Buffy....his death was so similar to what you described.

Coming to this site as you grieve might be helpful for you both. People here understand pet loss and will reach out to you as you walk this path.

I am sorry,


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I am so sorry about your Chinook, I know what a tremendous loss that is for you and how hard it is to go through it. I pray the memories you shared will sustain you in the months ahead.

I am glad that you didn't have to make the decision to have him put to sleep, and you found him when he was still warm. Yes I think they know we were there for them and what they meant to us. It could be that his body had passed but his spirit lingered long enough for you to find him, I've heard it said that the spirit is there for a little bit afterwards, who knows.

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I'm so sorry, Tim and Peter, but I did not see your most recent post until just this moment. My heart hurts for both of you ~ but how fitting that Chinook chose to go on his own and you both were there to witness his transition from this earthly life. I too can picture him now, reunited with Nikomi, skipping across that Rainbow Bridge and frolicking their way into the beautiful meadows beyond. Isn't it lovely to think that they are there now, together, free of pain, young and healthy again, waiting for the day they can welcome you, and you'll all be together again?

Just so you know, I've alerted Mara that you may be attending the next meeting of her Pet Loss Support Group at Hospice of the Valley. If you decide to go, I know that she will welcome you with open arms and her warm and compassionate heart. And you already know that we're all here for you, too. ♥

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  • 6 years later...

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