The title was going to be 'ferrendipity' but I feel like the play on words would have been too obscure.
On a slow day while I was working at my pet store, a lady comes over to the ferret cage and enters the "aww aren't you cute gooshy gooshy goo" routine through the glass. I, looking for any excuse to hang out with ferrets, walked over and opened up the ferret cage for her. We get to chatting, and eventually I learned that she ran a ferret rescue center in the neighboring town. Cool! She said that her shelter was officially certified and had close to one hundred ferrets that had been rescued. COOL. She gave me one of her cards because I had said I'd be interested one day in getting a ferret. (This was about a month ago, I think.) 
A week or so later, my mom and dad and I were downtown getting out of the movie theater. And then-- wait a second, was this pet-a-palooza street fair here before?! Dogs were jumping into a giant pool after duck decoys, adoption and rescue groups had booths set up, the atmosphere was generally very fun and exciting. My family and I, being huge animal nerds, decide to have a look-see. As we go down the street, we pass a ferret adoption booth. And I recognize the woman sitting in it-- the same lady from my pet store. I ran up and was probably a huge nerd, comparable to a supergeek meeting Stan Lee for the first time, and one thing led to another. I picked up a volunteer form and a "Have You Hugged Your Ferret Today?" sticker, and we went on our merry way. 
Before I continue, I have to say that I am a huge believer in serendipity, happenstance, whatever you want to call it. If I see something, am reminded of something, or keep noticing certain things-- it is often an animal, a place, a person, etcetera-- I was meant to see it for some reason and should act on it. That is what brought about my random bout of white bats, and one day the image of parrots would not leave me alone*. The fact that I had met this same woman twice in the past month meant something. I decided then to volunteer at her shelter: Denise's Delightful Dookers. I was drawn to her and her work and knew I was supposed to be a part of it. It felt right. 
A while later at a friend's house, I got an email back from Denise. I was sitting among a book club to which I did not belong, awkwardly typing my response email on my new smartphone, making excited giggly noises under my breath**. I guess it doesn't make sense to a lot of people, especially ones my age, but doing household chores and pet maintenance in a small house filled with possibly 100+ small ADD animals seems like my kind of thing. I could be peeling 1,000 potatoes or spinning hay into gold, but as long as an animal is nearby, the work would be tolerable, if not fun. Animals are my therapy and my joy. 
Annie and Liesel, ferrets at the shelter.
When I arrived at the shelter, my "interview" roughly translated to "here, clean some litter boxes". In the process of being put to work immediately, I learned a lot about the shelter and the individual ferrets. Most of them had come to the shelter because of a move (to an apartment, to college, to a no-ferret state), allergies, or financial reasons. The adoptable ferrets were kept in one room, while the permanent residents (sickly ferrets) were kept in another. Most of the permies had adrenal gland disease or emotional/behavioral problems from bad homes. They were all sweet. (Except for one, Sarah, the "White Girl of the Apocalypse". We won't get into that.) 
When the other volunteer was pulling two ferrets out of a cage to clean it, she said, "And here's Owen and Haru..." 
Something struck me. "What? Owen and Haru? And their previous owner's name was... Mike, right?" 
"I bought their old cage. From Mike. He's my boyfriend's friend. Those were his ferrets." 
It's times like those that I love the world-- and how connected it really is! 
When we bought Zaphod, we drove to Seattle to buy Stark's friend's old cage. He mentioned offhandedly that his old ferrets were Owen and Haru, and he had to give them up because of financial reasons. They were aging and had some intense health problems. He said he'd found them a nice shelter and was sponsoring them. I never thought that a mere two weeks later I would be meeting those same ferrets. 
Small world, man. Far out. 

Owen. ♥
Needless to say, I plan to volunteer at the shelter often. At least two days a week. The work is satisfying, the people are great, and the ferrets are always awesome. It feels good to be using my spare time doing something else besides playing Portal and Minecraft and drawing kung-fu fish. 
Ok, scratch that last one. Kung-fu fish are awesome. 
Oh, and here's Jiggers in a bucket! Pow! 
All photo credits (sans banner) go to Denise

* Can't I shop for antiques in peace without being followed by parrot trinkets?! Apparently not. 
** They totally heard me. 


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