When we were trying to come up with a name for him, my wife asked, “What about Ood?” She was referring to a species of weird aliens on Doctor Who, with mouths that looked like ground beef and red eyes like orbs. It was perfect.
Ever since our veterinarian’s office called, looking for a home for a ferret that one of their nurses had found, we thought the whole thing was a little odd. She’d found him in the yard of her apartment complex, cornered by a neighborhood cat. Had he been abandoned? Did he escape his owners? We’ll never know. What we brought home was an albino with bright red eyes and floofy white fur that looked like pantaloons around his little legs. At first he freaked us (and our other animals) out. There was something a little off about him, the way he shuffled around happy-go-lucky, head tilted upward. “Ood” was the best name we could have given him.
We soon learned that he was mostly blind, which was why he held his head that way. Ood used his nose to find his way around, much more than his eyes. He was the biggest, strongest ferret we’d ever had, with the most gregarious personality. He’d open cabinets himself, just so he could crawl in and find a warm, dark place to sleep. We put a cast iron doorstop shaped like a frog in front of the bathroom door to prop it open. He effortlessly shoved the frog away, just so he could find out what was behind it. With all that strength you might think he’d boss the other animals around, but all he ever wanted them to do was play.
He followed Nim, our other white ferret, everywhere, desperate for his attention. If our other ferrets or one of the cats we later adopted had the energy to play, Ood would dance around with excitement, dooking happily. The cats were terrified of him. He’d run up and goose them from behind, sending them flying across the room to hide. Even after he slowed down, from the insulinoma infecting his body, Ood still took joy in the occasional tussle.
His name was also perfect for extended nicknames like “Ood Tang Clan” or “Oodahviing.” Whenever I hear New Order’s “Temptation” I change the lyrics to:
“Ood you’ve got red eyes. And I’ve never met anyone quite like you before.”
What I learned most from this satisfied, happy little boy was to keep plucking along no matter what. Despite how others treat you, or the stress going on around you, keep being yourself and doing how you do.
We will sing to you Ood. The universe will sing you to your sleep.
Up, down, turn around. Ood it’s the last time. Oh no, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before.