By August of 1996 Annabelle had been a long time shelter resident who had a serious problem with her coat (all of her fur fell out). A trip to the vet revealed tumors on her ovaries, which were promptly removed. Annabelle's coat continued to languish, so Elayne and I took her home for some special attention and care (this was just after we lost Ruby, so we wanted to care for another hard luck story albino). In less than three weeks, Annabelle's fur grew back to a thick, long, lovely coat that we've come to expect from albinos. We had not really considered adopting her until her true personality began to emerge and we knew we could never give up this white bundle of joy.

Annabelle had a great mixture of spunk, attitude, grace, beauty and charm that won us over and eventually her cage mates. Annabelle started out in her own cage, and then lived with Hogan when he first arrived. Soon both Anna and Hogan were placed in with Opie, Tris, Ariel, Raven and Mithril where they thrived. Annabelle's thick white coat and playful nature earned her the nicknames "fuzzy britches" and "chunky monkey." Later, after Ariel had died a new albino joined Anna's group: Snickers. Annabelle and Snickers didn't get along well at first, but after several months the two became inseparable, as if their motto was "white girls gotta stick together!"

Annabelle would frequently represent the albino faction of ferrets during outreach events, and often convinced those who were turned off by the pink eyes of albinos that color wasn't everything but personality was. Annabelle had surgery for insulinomas in early 1998, from which she fully recovered.

By the spring of 1999 Annabelle had begun to slow down and was showing signs of lymphoma. On April 5th of this year she was taken in for exploratory surgery, but we knew already that her time had come. The surgery revealed what we had suspected: almost every organ was laced with the deadly disease, and any life she would have would be one filled with pain and suffering. We allowed Annabelle to pass away with peace and dignity.

It is too soon after this loss for me to be writing about Annabelle without feeling the pain from our loss. Snickers is also very upset, and spends much of her time looking around the house and cage for Annabelle, her dearest friend. This loss really hurts.

I found the following segment of an article I wrote on shelter ferrets some time before we adopted Anna. The article focused on albino ferrets (Ruby was also mentioned), and included one very special girl.

I can't say enough good things about Anna -- she is what every ferret should be: beautiful, friendly, cuddly and playful. Anna loves people, loves ferrets, and loves life, and I am puzzled why she has not yet found a home.

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