Yesterday I mentioned the sad fate of our little hedgehog. Yes, we
have had a pet hedgehog. Let me preface this by saying I am a sucker for all things small and pitifully dependent on nurturing humans for a better quality of life. puppies. kittens. bunnies. babies. hamsters. and yes, hedgehogs. We’ve run the gamut when it comes to family pets, but I must admit, the hedgehog takes the cake.
Our adventure in hedgehog home began when Daniela was in 3rd grade. She was assigned an Animal Notebook and of course wanted to include lots of baby animals :) We scoured Bing image search for the cutest and tiniest little things and spent hours oohing and ahhhing over each little owl and hippo and chick. The one that captivated her, however, was the baby hedgehog.
One day, as I was laying out my plan to be the super-est step mommy ever, I had an idea. How AMAZING would it be to actually let her HOLD one of those HEDGEHOGS!!!! Shut up! I frantically began searching for pet stores that carried them and found one LESS THAN A MILE FROM HER SCHOOL. Don’t tell me you don’t believe in fate.
Her squeals of excitement were exactly what I was going for when I told her where we were headed. And that little hedgehog did not disappoint :) He was prickly and adorable and tiny and cuddly! We were in L-O-V-E. Smitten, really. How could we not be after the nice gentleman at Animal Crackers told us what loving and easy pets they make!? Convincing Marco was a piece of cake. You see, after Dani went to sleep that night I told him all about the little hedgehog and how Dani was smiling like a bird with a french fry and how EASY they are to keep. He looked at the pictures and asked one very simple question. “This would make her the coolest kid in school, right?” Uuuuum, YES! He grinned; mission accomplished.
Unfortunately our little lovey at the pet store wasn’t actually for sale and it would be 3 weeks before the newest ones were ready to go to their forever homes. Dani and I are not patient people. Instant gratification please. We headed back to Bing and found a breeder about 2 hours away so we jumped in the car and met them at a shady little gas station in the middle of absolutely no where. I was creeped, I’ll admit it. After waiting over an hour with only a few affirming texts, they finally arrived and Dani had her choice of 5 or 6 little hedgies. She chose the cinnamon colored one, and that is how Cinnamon got her (his?) name. I can NEVER remember that things gender!
As it does with all things, the novelty soon wore off (not before a hedgehog visit to school where she was indeed the coolest kid for a while). Before long, the hedgehog only received attention from me when I would clean the cage or re–fill food and water. We had a couple close calls, apparently hedgies are prone to cancer, but ours was a fighter and always bounced back without so much as a vet call. Well, that’s not entirely true, I did take Cinnamon to the vet once, but waited in line for way too long and left. Like I said, not a patient person.
Hedgie held a special place in our family — he (she?) cemented us as the crazy family who bought a hedgehog. He provided loads of entertainment for Daniela’s girlfriends and really was a sweet little thing. Except when I would forget to put her (his?) wheel inside her cage. Then she would push her ceramic food bowl against her glass cage making quite the raucous until I finally dragged myself out of bed and pleased it. (They’re nocturnal). Or if I forgot to provide clean water and food. Then it become feisty and would fill it’s water dish full of cage fluff so i would have to empty it and start over. Cinnamon had an attitude.
Well, last weekend Daniela noticed that Cinnamon looked sick. I quickly filled her (empty! eek!) food and water and thought nothing of it. Until yesterday. When I went upstairs to do real (glass company) work. Cinnamon looked a little…grey. I watched to see her little quills rising and falling, nothing. I tapped on the glass. I nudged her. I gasped. And immediately texted my girlfriend “Oh god. The hedgehog died. For real this time! Aaaaahhh!!! I don’t do dead things!!” Which also isn’t entirely true, but the hamster saga will have to wait for another time.
Then came the task of figuring out what to do with it. I may or may not have tried to dump the whole contents of the cage into a trash bag.
I may or may not have slipped and spilled it all over the carpet.
I may or may not have screamed and ran downstairs.
I may or may not have baby gated the stairway so the dog couldn’t get to it.
I may or may not have ignored it up there for hours.
I may or may not have rewarded myself with wine when I finally cleaned and disposed of said contents of cage.
I may or may not have been too freaked out to put the bag in our own trashcan and drove to the nearest apartment complex and used their dumpster. Do. Not. Judge. Me.
And after the whole soap opera played out, I was still calling pet stores to find a look alike replacement. No luck. I mean seriously, how can I tell her that Cinnamon died!!?? Most likely from a lack of regular food and water (I hang my head as I type). But I did it. I told her. She was sad. There were tears. I tried to cheer her up with the “but we’ll buy a new one baby!” line, but she said she doesn’t want another hedgehog. (WHEW!) “What I really want, Mommy, (tears glistening on her cheek) is a baby monkey.”
God help me.