A Pet Named Maxwell
By Kathleen Gemmell
I am a ferret and I live with the Anderson family.
Joy Anderson is eight years old and my best friend. Recently, Joy and I had a grand adventure. Joy’s teacher, Mr. Sabella, invited us to share information about ferrets in the classroom.
I rode the bus with Joy on that special morning. I was in a plastic pet carrier. That bus was bumpy and noisy! The other children talked and laughed and sang silly songs. I don’t like loud sounds so the bus ride wasn’t fun.
Once in the classroom, I began to have a wonderful time. The children were told that they each could have a turn coming to meet me. They gently stroked my brown fur and softly told me that I am “really awesome!”
Back at their desks, they listened as Joy told my story…
“This is my ferret and his name is Maxwell. He is two years old and we got him when he was a kit from a rescue group. Sometimes, animals are not wanted for lots of reasons. The rescue groups give them a home until a forever home is found.
“Max is a mammal from the weasel family. A long time ago, ferrets were wild. People started to catch them and keep them in their homes because they are great at catching mice. Ferrets only eat meat. That is called being a carnivore. I feed Max ferret food that looks like dog food. We buy all his stuff at the pet store.
“Over time, ferrets got used to living with people. When that happens, it is called being domesticated. Just like pet dogs started as wolves, pet ferrets started as wild animals.
“Maxwell sleeps a lot, almost eighteen hours a day. He lives in a large cage that has a ferret bed and ferret toys. Of course, he always has fresh water and food.
“When Max is awake, he loves to run around, and he is very curious. He is about eleven inches long and weighs about 4 pounds. It is amazing how fast he is and how easily he can get into kitchen cabinets, or under the couch. One time, Max even hid in my father’s shoe!
“He needs to run around every day to stay healthy and get his energy out. It wouldn’t be right to just keep him in a cage. My brother and my sister and I take turns watching him. We need to make sure he is safe and doesn’t do something silly like getting into the dishwasher.
“Ferrets come in lots of colors. There are brown ones and black ones and tan ones and red ones. Not red like a crayon, but red like cinnamon.
“When Max gets tired from playing in the house, he loves to cuddle with us. We hold him gently while he is patted and talked to. I tell him that I love him and that he is a great friend.
“Max has a harness which is sort of like a collar only it goes around his stomach. We attach that to a leash and take him outside on nice days. Once, my sister had him out in the front yard and somehow Maxwell got out of his harness. My sister started screaming and crying because she thought he would run away. My mom and my brother were able to catch him when he started playing with a big leaf on a bush. That was a scary day. We didn’t want Max to get hit by a car.
“Because Max is used to living with us, he couldn’t survive out on his own like the wild ferrets do. Some wild ones live in the United States, but there aren’t many wild ones left. We build houses and roads and malls and use up all the land where all kinds of wild animal lived.
“I think this is kind of cool; boy ferrets are called hobs, and girls are called jills. Babies are called kits and a group of ferrets is called a business!
“Some people don’t think that ferrets should be pets because they’ve got a smell. It is like a skunk’s, but not so bad. And some people think that ferrets only belong in the wild and that it isn’t right to make them pets. I guess each family has to decide that for themselves if they’re thinking about getting one.
“So, that is the story about my pet Max. We can let him out of his carrier to play as long as the door stays shut. Wouldn’t that be funny if he went down and jumped on Principal Whitmore’s desk?”
When Joy’s friends stopped laughing, I went out to see the classroom. I ran here and there and jumped up on the children’s laps. I had a wonderful time! Mr. Sabella even gave me a gentle hug!
While the children studied, I slept in my crate. I was tired from all the excitement.
Of course, Joy and I had to ride that silly bus home which I didn’t like. Once in my cage, Joy gave me my dinner. I was hungry!
“You were such a good boy today, Max. All the kids liked you. Maybe you can go to school next year with me. That would be fun. I love you buddy.”- Total nr. of readings: 1,008 Copyright © The author  All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.
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