Historical Content Note: The following material is reprinted from publications from throughout Fermilab's history. It should be read in its original historical context.

Felicia Suffers Fatal Illness

C. Crose

W. Pelczarski

NAL regrets to advise that Felicia Ferret died on Tuesday, May 9. Felicia made many friends both inside and outside the Laboratory. Her task at NAL was performed in the early construction phases of the Meson Laboratory when she pulled a string attached to her harness through 3" x 4" vacuum chambers that will eventually carry the proton beam. A swab was then attached to the string and pulled through to clean the tubes. Her naturally elastic body enabled her to extend herself through a remarkably small space, only as large as her head, as she pursued a course toward the light at the end of the chamber-tunnel.

Felicia's story has been told widely in the US and abroad, capturing the imagination and affection of many people. She had been in semi-retirement since last Fall when construction progress produced tube lengths that far exceeded her capacity, which was about 300 feet. A mechanical ferret developed by NAL engineers took over the job of cleaning vacuum chambers in the Main Ring - eight segments of about 2,600 feet each.

Charles Crose, Accelerator Section, and Wally Pelczarski, Internal Target Section, gave a great deal of personal attention to Felicia, including caring for her in their homes when the regular boarding spot at the Winfield Mink Farm was not available. Charles cared for her at his home as late as Sunday and reports that she appeared to be feeling badly in the afternoon and he decided she needed professional attention early Monday morning. Medical treatment seemed to give Felicia quick relief; she had improved greatly Tuesday morning, but was found dead by the veterinarian after lunch Tuesday. A post-mortem test revealed a ruptured abscess in her intestinal tract.

It is planned that Felicia's body will be stuffed and mounted, to be displayed permanently as a symbol of early NAL development problems and solutions. (Photos by T. Fielding, NAL)