We already had four ferrets in 2009 when Jane at Rescued 4 Life called and said there was a very special one she thought we needed.
'Rambo' had been born with congenital deformities and resembled a horsehoe bat crossed with a baby panda but had, nonetheless, been saved and cared for by a Scottish gamekeeper for four years. The gamekeeper was terminally ill and he contacted the rescue to find a good home for 'Rambo'. He made Jane promise not to put him in with other ferrets because they'd hurt him. This made me cry. Men can be so lovely.
Facial deformity has been documented in ferrets and when it's flat like this they are known as 'bracycephalic' or 'pug' ferrets. Unfortunately, some are even selected for breeding, but this certainly hadn't been the case in this instance. He also had a short round body - nothing like the long slinky ones that define ferrets - and a stumpy tail. Although I could certainly see why he was called 'Rambo' - he charged around furiously like a little tank - I renamed him Ewok.
His enormous bottom canines were trimmed back from his eyes and his lower jaw didn't fit with the upper so he could only eat liquid food which my husband made every day from soaked, blended kibble. His tongue always looked huge in such a short mouth.
Because of his flat face he snored and I worried about his breathing under anaesthetic so instead of having him neutered we used regular chemical castration implants under his skin, to reduce the fury. Our wonderful vet loved him and was brilliant with him.
Despite his health problems and the specialist care he needed, Ewok still ran around and played like every other ferret. He would even do his own version of the Weasel War Dance. He often slept with his tongue hanging out and it would go dry and take a while to fit back in his mouth again...
His continence was never great so he needed regular baths in which he resembled an otter cub. Ewok qualified for the Edinburgh Evening News Pet Idol, is a Ferret Couture pin up and was thrilled to recently meet the Belgian Waffle whom he honoured with a giant wee.
He died today, aged about seven, and leaves behind his step-brothers Badger and Bear, who - boringly - look entirely normal.