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I break the silence of my cloistered existence to bring you news! Remember in Q1 I said we were trying to figure out how to get Hurricane Gabriel a buddy? We finally made it happen. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Oliver, aka Ollie, aka Ollie-pop, aka Tropical Storm Oliver (click to see him bigger and cuter):

He's just a bit shy. Let's see if we can get him to show himself a little later. We adopted him from our local shelter, Denise's Delightful Dookers, in early April. We named him Oliver after the Dickens character, because his was a sad story but we hope it too has a happy ending. Ollie was found by somebody in a field in Bellevue in the *middle of January* and turned over to Animal Control, who brought him to DDD. We have no idea if he got out and his owner couldn't find him (although s/he could have looked harder, amirite?) or if he was dumped. Denise worked hard to get him fed and healthy enough for me to come along and meet him. He's a big boy, almost three pounds now, probably a couple years old, with butterscotch fur that is now so very soft and fluffy. As you can tell, he has a sincere and earnest little face.

I chose him out of all the other shelter kids for many reasons. He is a good age for a companion for Gaby. He's a sweet boy, and he snagged my heart when he was playing with me at the shelter, wriggling in the tube and wagging his tail like mad. When we brought him home, all he wanted for the first few weeks was for me to hold him and cuddle him. Shelters do the best they can to give the ferrets playtime, but we definitely needed to work with him to help him build muscles to get stronger and slimmer. Now he can run and jump and climb and dance, not as well as Gabriel, but nobody but an Olympic athlete can keep up with that little fellow.

He clambered up on the couch all by himself:

Integration was rough. I thought Gabriel was lonely, missing the girls, when in truth he probably just wanted to spend all his time with me. That just wasn't practical. It took about a month for Gaby to stop lunging and shrieking at Oliver, and I'm pretty sure he was doing it out of fear. To Oliver's credit, he never gave up. He was scared, but he kept trying to creep near Gabriel, to lay next to him, to initiate some play. And finally Gabriel realized that Ollie wasn't a monster, he wasn't going to eat him, and maybe it wasn't such a bad thing after all. Gaby is a very smart and sensitive boy, and he's still pretty jealous of any time and attention I give to Ollie. For instance, I can hold Gabriel in one arm just fine. But the moment I try to pet Oliver with my other hand, Gaby starts flopping around like a gaffed fish. He's all "NO MAMA you have to hold me with BOTH HANDS!"

Here's Oliver oozing like molasses down the sofa cushions while Gabriel wonders WHUT:

He's not great with the litterbox, which is an ongoing source of stress. He came from pelleted litter, and we use SwheatScoop, and I think he has problems balancing and not sliding around. He doesn't give kisses at all but he *loves* to be rubbed and soothed in his blankie nest when he is waking up or falling asleep. He has been teaching Gabriel how to play with him, and it makes me so happy to see them both in the tube, wagging their tails at each other. He has a funny little stubborn streak. He watches Gabriel to see how we do things, and now he copies Gaby when it's time to get their N-Bones in the morning. He invented a new game which involves running toward the screen door and splatting himself against it, watching the jays and squirrels scatter in terror from where they are trying to eat their peanuts in peace a few inches away.

We are pretty happy to have him in our weird little family. I hope he and Hurricane Gabriel have a long and happy life with us.
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June 2011

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