Beware of the dishwasher

by Stephanie Gibson
(Greenville, SC)

It is painful to write this, but I feel I should.

We had 3 ferrets, Cookie, Candy and Frosty. Frosty was an albino, the others were minks.

Frosty got into EVERYTHING! Unfortunately, I opened the dishwasher one morning (2 Easter morning ago) to empty it and Frosty was stretch out dead on the top rack.

My husband and I were mortified! We made the decision to wait until after church to tell the children (we have 5) and we decided to tell them we found him dead that morning because the dishwasher thing just seemed too traumatic.

Every time I empty that dishwasher I am reminded of that awful day!

We now have Cookie, Candy and we added someone’s unwanted ferret, Taz a few months ago. He looks just like Frosty, we can’t keep from accidentally calling him that. He has brought us much joy!

Yesterday we took on yet another unwanted ferret. Can you imagine a ferret being unwanted? Being in a cage 24/7 with no attention? That baffles me!

Please, beware of the dishwasher.

Comments for Beware of the dishwasher

May 02, 2014 Dishwasher took my ferret
by: Megan My ferret died in the dishwasher yesterday. It had to be one of the most horrible experiences of my life. I feel so guilty and can’t stop thinking of him suffering and trying to get out. I’m thinking about going to see a therapist I just don’t know how to cope with the guilt and regret. :'(

Nov 13, 2012 Ferret loss
by: AnonymousMy daughter came in my room so traumatized saying she found our sweet ferret Ella in the dish washer. We are all devastated right now. This just happened a few hours ago. Earlier today I was loading the dish washer and both my ferrets Beans and Ella were playing on it as usual. I saw Beans leave and since I didn’t see Ella, I just assumed she did to. Beans is fat and Ella petite so Beans can’t fit once dishes are loaded but Ella could and I just keep wishing I could go back and do it all over again.

I feel so guilty and so horrible sick to my stomach cause I just can’t get the thought of how she felt inside as it came on. Ugh!!!! All I could keep saying was OH MY GOSH WHY!!!!! I DON’T BELIEVE THIS JUST HAPPENED. Oh how our other ferret is gonna be sad without his little snuggle mate. I snuggled with her before that happened she fell asleep on my chest. I chased her around the house off and on that morning. I just wanna wake up and it be a dream but I know it won’t be 🙁

Apr 23, 2012 Mr Coco AKA Captain Stinky Pants
by: Anonymous I, as many others, wish I had not been in so much in a hurry. I wish I could go back and stop my careless self. My daughter noticed the smell of something burning. I opened the dishwasher to find my poor little guy dead. My hope is that his death was quick and he did not suffer;( I saved him as a baby from distemper and knew he was a miracle only to lose him 2 years later. Please do not suffer the guilt I am, double check your pet’s whereabouts before starting any appliance!

Apr 08, 2011 Disher blues
by: AnonymousMy twin girls were playing around the dishwasher when I was loading it. I didn’t realize there was two as I thought one hadn’t gotten up yet. I pulled what I thought was one out – but didn’t know the other had climbed in and was hidden….

I too opened that damned dishwasher to find my baby dead… the guilt – the sadness – the anger!

Why didn’t I open it to put in another fork, why didn’t I ….

One of the hardest things I have had to deal with, especially when I volunteer with a rescue and we save ferrets – 🙁

Jan 12, 2010 Dishwasher hazard
by: Jerry It really pains me to read about your losses here.

I just can’t imagine what it’d be like to open the dishwasher and find your precious ferret dead in it – the whole thought makes me feel awful.

Although it must have been so painful to admit it happened to you, thank you for telling us about it as hopefully it’ll help to make other people more aware of where their ferrets are before putting on their dishwashers and save some lives.

I guess there is something to be said about what this website said about being paranoid. It’s the only way to be around ferrets 🙁

Jan 04, 2010 dishwasher safety
by: Anonymous Just yesterday I opened my dishwaser to find my sweet Maggie in there.

I’m having a hard time dealing with her death. I feel so guilty. Normally I to check the dishwasher several times before starting it. This time I did not – I was in a hurry!

I guess to all ferret owners out there — always double check so you don’t have to go thru this tragedy.

I’d like to thank everyone else for sharing their story. kim

Mar 24, 2009 Thank you for sharing
by: Heather Yesterday I opened the dishwasher to find my beloved Bella dead on the top rack also. Our family is in mourning. I ALWAYS check and double check before I start the dishwasher. Most of the time I would peak in between the dishes because she would sneak in an hide when she got the chance. I guess I was talking to my son and didn’t check well enough. Our hearts have been ripped out.

I appreciate knowing that I am not the only one to make this mistake… not that it takes the pain away, but at least I know I am not a careless monster.

I want her back… and I can’t have her kisses or snuggle her fur or sing her the pretty Bella princess song.

If you are reading this and have your sweet baby still with you PLEASE don’t make the same mistake I made… unload the dishwasher if you have to in order to make sure it is ferret free.


Mar 01, 2009 This happened to us, too
by: Anonymous This happened to us last night. I wish I had read this article only 24 hours ago. Sadly, my boys did see the ferret in the dishwasher after he had passed. It has been very traumatic for us all. We took him to a pet crematory and grief center today. We will have our funeral for Beans in 2 weeks. We are all very sad.

Jan 05, 2009 Frosty
by: Nona Thank you so much for sharing the very tragic story of Frosty. I think it was extremely brave of you to do so and I’m sure it will make other ferret owners think twice when they open their dishwasher doors.

Your Frosty sounds so much like our Angus. He is such a curious little man and into everything – the first one into the fridge, and always nosing around the dishwasher when I unstack it.

He knows the meaning of “NO” but occasionally he’ll ignore the command and jump into the dishwasher and slide under the bottom shelf.

I drag him out and smack his bottom when he does that as I really don’t want him to think it’s a fun idea to explore places he shouldn’t be.

22 thoughts on “Beware of the dishwasher”

  1. We lost our sweet PB (aka Polar Bear) in the dishwasher yesterday too. It was so incredibly awful. I want to thank everyone who posted about losing their fuzzies too. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone but it helped to read that this has happened to many others. I feel like we’re not in it alone. This just sucks.

  2. I feel your pain. I lost one of mine Sunday night in the dishwasher – I took him out once and did not realize he got back in. I am usually so careful but I did not see him until it was too late. The guilt I feel is the worse! I keep hoping he did not suffer. I cant believe he did not make any noise 🙁 I am extremely heartbroken. It seems this is an all too common accident for ferrets.

  3. I am extremely sorry to hear about your boy, Diane. Unfortunately despite our best intentions, accidents will happen and we’re haunted by that for years to come 🙁

  4. I’m so sorry for everyone who has lost a ferret in such a traumatic event like this. It’s horrible.

    Just today, we were searching around to find our ferret. We used her squeaky toy and squeaked every where possible. I remembered my husband just did a load, so I went to the kitchen and fearfully opened up the dishwasher door. There she was, hanging limply over the side. I tried to pull her out quickly, but she was burning hot. I screamed in horror and ran to my husband pointing to shere she was. I couldn’t even speak through my cries. My grandma and mom were there, and we all cried. She was such a big part of my family.

    I feel horrible. I feel guilty. I feel ashamed. I am mortified. I really don’t know how I am supposed to live with this.

    This may sound weird, but I wanted to know if anyone else had gone through this. I googled it and found this page. Doesn’t make me feel any better about it, but I just wanted to know if anyone else had gone through this with their own fur babe.

    My husband and I buried her in the backyard with her squeaky toy, peanutbutter, and hammock not too long ago. All I’ve done is cry today. Just to think we ourselves did this to her. I just can’t bear it. It hurts too much.

  5. Many, many condolences to you on your loss
    What a terrible thing to happen and I can imagine how it must have affected you.
    Wish I could turn the clock back so that it never happened 🙁

  6. Just last night I started the dishwasher only to find our “Steve George Washington” had crawled into the dishwasher before I started it. My husband ask where the ferret was…looked everywhere..called him, and then said”oh my God..the dishwasher!” Sure enough, there he was. We have 5 kids and my son did not take it well. We are so sad.
    I can’t believe I didn’t just check It! Why?? I hope he didn’t suffer… I feel so guilty!!
    I hope this happens to no one else.

  7. I accidentally did the same thing this past hurricane season… Irma was bearing down on us and i was trying to sanitize everything, make everything clean, prep, but water..i.was rushing rushing rushing… I did not even know Unikitty she was in the kitchen… There was a gate up but i found she could get over it. I usually kept an eye out for her but i was just too exhausted from a full week of prepping and no sleep.

    The look on her face when i opened that dishwasher told me she definitely died in pain. Worst thing I’ve ever seen.

    Once i left my bathtub full overnight… Couldnt find one of my ferrets and thought, oh what’s the harm. She’s so low key, the only one who never got into trouble. I had no idea she could get into the bathtub at all. I woke the next morning to find her floating in it, dead. Please…please…

    Never ever leave a bathtub full with ferrets in the house. I never saw the harm until it was too late.

    And obviously check your dishwasher. ESPECISLLY WHEN YOU’RE RUSHING. THAT’S THE MOST CRITICAL TIME.

    Love to everyone who lost their noodle bears or any other pet. The guilt almost killed me in both cases. I rescue ferrets and i questioned myself so hard after that. Should i even be entrusted with their lives when i made two huge mistakes? It tore me up into a million little pieces. I got good and stinking drunk that night even though i never…ever drink. It was just the worst feeling.

    Be well everyone. Your babies knew you’d never hurt them on purpose. Accidents happen. Much love to all.

  8. I bought my kitten a friend and started setting her up downstairs and went upstairs to clean the kitchen really well because I had to drive all day to pick up this new kitten to be friends with my Geoffroy item and then I searched the whole house looking for him to bring to her couldn’t find him checked closets rooms under beds then I heard the dishwasher, found him laying on top of the pots he must have hidden in one when I opened it, I’ve never felt so terrible that has to be the worst death. I’ve never thought about anything dieing in the dishwasher and I hardly ever use it, at most once a month. This is horrible. He never even got to meet his friend he was still such a baby only 5 months. Never rush to clean your kitchen I always check the dryer and washer but never thought to check under pots in the dishwasher. Saddest day ever.

  9. Oh Kim – what a horrible shock it must have been for you ?
    There’s another star shining in the sky at night ❤️

  10. I live with my best friend of 12 years, yesterday I got home from work before her and she had texted me about letting out our Koda best to run around for a bit. I was cleaning because my fiancé was coming down for the weekend and I had pulled Koda out of the dishwasher twice, the second time I had laid him down with the dog to distract him while I started it. I walked away for 2 seconds and came back out and started the dishwasher. A couple hours went by and my sister came home only to ask where he was at. We called his name and scratched around his usual hiding spots. We checked under the sink and we both looked at the dishwasher, and we both knew. She reached and opened it and we found him stuck in between the bars of the racks, stuck and soping wet. I’ll never forget her scream and her bawling. It wasn’t even something I had thought about and I just want his kisses! Please check the dishwasher if you still have your little ones! Or put them up when you clean ?

  11. Oh God, Jenson – I am so, so very sorry to hear that about your ferret ??
    Thank you for telling your story so that other ferret owners will take care that nothing like that happens to them ?
    Sending you virtual hugs ❤

  12. Today I was cleaning and put all of my dishes in the dishwasher. I found our almost 1 year old ferret in the dishwasher dead. I feel so horrible, he was the best ferret ever. He was potty trained so well that he could freely roam our house. He never really got into anything but he loved the dishwasher. He would always push dishes out and it would drive me crazy but also make me laugh because he was so smart and and funny. I recently lost my father and the only thing to help my daughter, was our ferret. I have to tell my daughter tomorrow that her bestfriend passed away and i feel so horrible. ???

  13. Oh Timon I am terribly sorry to hear your news ??
    There is a new star shining in the sky tonight ?
    Sending you a cyber hug!

  14. I lost my 10 month old ferret to the dishwasher yesterday 1/23/2020. Her name was Dolly. My wife was loading the dishwasher and Dolly climbed in my wife got her out and put her on the floor and in the mean time she climbed back in and we didn’t see her until the dishwasher cycle was over. It ripped our hearts out. We owned 2 ferrets previously and they each lived 6 years and 4 months each. Last June we bought 2 more Dolly and Martha. Martha is doing fine and we will always double check the dishwasher again. Dolly will be missed forever. I still miss my other 2. Thanks for listening.

  15. So relieved to find this post and share my pain with all of you… My sweet prince and princess Mr. Sweeney and Mrs. Sniffles were the light of my otherwise dark world… My partner just moved in with me and had never owned ferrets before. She loaded the dishwasher after dinner without checking to see if there were any fur babies inside. Devastatingly Mr. Sweeney and Mrs. Sniffles had both claimed into the top rack behind our salad bowls. A wave of terror came over me when I opened the door an hour later. There they were… My stomach sank into my sandels… I would like to find some comfort in knowing that they had each other in their final moments… It was bad enough losing one of my precious ferrets, but to loose both has left me feeling empty inside. I couldn’t look at my partner the same knowing that they had died by her hand… She has since moved out and I have had to hand wash all my dishes to avoid that horrible churning sound made by the killing machine… Feeling very alone, but sharing this here has helped. PLEASE make sure to triple check your dishwasher to avoid having to go through what I know so many of you have gone through too…I miss them everyday.It brings me comfort knowing they didn’t have their final moments alone. I wear their ashes in my necklace everyday. Hopefully i can get another ferret soon but the pain is still too real. Thank you for helping me on my journey through grief.

  16. Oh Nicholas – what a tragic story of your two babies! I can’t imagine what you are going through but there are two new stars shining in the sky now ?
    They will be at the Rainbow Bridge and will be waiting for you when it’s your time to join them. Do you know the story of the Bridge? You might get some comfort reading it and also the Indian legend! I hope it will help to heal the raw pain you must still be feeling ❤

    Take care and stay well … and don’t leave it too long to replace that ferret shaped hole in your heart! Your new ferret cannot replace Mr Sweeney and Mrs Sniffles, but I’m sure having it around will ease the pain ?
    Most sincerely

  17. We lost our sweet Francis to the dishwasher. He loved to play in there, and we would always check for him, but last night my son started the dishwasher and no one realized we had closed the door on him. It is so devastating. This morning I cried, and cried. Our Francis was a ferret we shockingly found, and we loved him so. While I was never successful in potty training him, he did not wonder, and would cuddle most lovingly. Not being attached to ferrets before, and now having lost him I am just heartbroken.

  18. Many, many condolences on your tragic loss ?
    Francis will be waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge ❤
    I hope that you’ll consider getting another ferret to fill that hole in your heart. It won’t replace Francis but it might just take the rawness of the pain away.
    Many hugs

  19. Not sure my story really makes a difference. There’s so many on here. It does comfort me to know I’m not the only one so I do appreciate everyone’s story, because my boyfriend makes me feel guilty and what makes it worse is the reason I got Stella for him is because about 6 months ago I accidently ran over his dog backing out of the driveway. Today I was loading the dishwasher and apparently she crawled in. My bf opened it to find her stiff on the top rack. The past few hours has been him crying And asking why and asking me how I missed a whole animal and accusing me of hating him. He seems to forget I’m also grieving this situation and also loved her. I hate myself and blame myself enough. Similar to a lot of the other stories here. I told Stella to get out of the dishwasher and didn’t realize she had gotten back in. And that makes me even more guilty than had I not seen her at all. Because I feel like I should have double checked I should done this or done that. I keep thinking it’s not real. I keep googling how to revive her knowing she was in 140⁰ water and there is nothing I can do. My bf hardly had spoke to me. I think we are done having pets.

  20. This thread is horrifying and so sad. I’m sorry for all of your losses. I have two ferrets and because of this fear, I never open the dishwasher while they are out of their cage. I strictly supervise them while they are out and don’t let them free roam. I spent the first few weeks following them around and ferret-proofing everything. They had an obsession of getting inside and under the dishwasher so we screwed blocks of wood in the cracks to prevent it. I’m not trying to come across as more careful or responsible, just offering suggestions to avoid this.

    One ferret I had actually died by blockage years ago and it was my fault. I had neglected to let them out of their cage as often for a few weeks because I had just given birth. My husband was helping with them, but put a ratty towel in their cage to sleep on. They were likely so frustrated, one of them started chewing and swallowing the strings and we didn’t know until it was too late. So I definitely understand accidents happen. It likely took that even to make me hypervigilant for ferret safety.

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