Having Hedgy the hedgehog as our pet was a very profound learning experience for us. We bought him when he was still young because the children wanted a pet. I was a bit hesitant at first when I found out that it was neither a dog nor a cat that they wanted, but of all things, a hedgehog? They eventually went on and on with their explanation of why they want a hedgehog, about how sonic the hedgehog was their favorite video game character and how, if permitted, would take turns of caring for it and other silly reasons that I now forgot. Hedgehogs, unlike today, are hard to come by in Oregon during those days but, yep they got it; I eventually gave in to their constant badgering and got them their own hedgehog. They named it Hedgy, and I was so puzzled and asked them that I thought that sonic was their favorite hedgehog? Well dad, he looks like a hedgy, and that was the end of it.
Hedgehogs are small animals, a little bit larger than most hamsters but not bigger than your average cat. They have quills on their back and soft fur on their bellies. Their quills are not that hard as the porcupine quills are, but still, they are firm enough to warrant careful handling. They make huffing and squealing noises depending on their mood and sometimes curl up into a ball if they feel threatened. We read that he is an omnivore by nature, eats both plant and animal as food, but we usually give him cat food and sometimes fresh produce whenever it is available. Hedgy was not the sociable type and just always keeps to himself in his cave that we built for him, sometimes when he feels like it, he ventures out towards his exercise wheel but those episodes are few and far in between. Sometimes the only thing that reminded us that he is there are the constant grunts he makes when he is hungry. The kids, who were so enthusiastic at first, after two months, eventually got tired of his novelty. They stopped minding Hedgy and eventually left me with his care. We finally returned him to the dealer one day, fearing that continuous neglect will eventually do harm to him, and just told the dealer that we are not worthy of Hedgy and that maybe, there were other people who will love him more than us.
The kids are grown up now and I think they do not remember Hedgy anymore, but it was a lesson learned the hard way. Hedgehogs are a bit exotic in nature and having hedgehogs as pets is unique in a different way. They are the kind of pets who are just there, they don’t interact much and they don’t give love and attention back the way most people are accustomed to, they are just there minding their own business, so tendency is that they will eventually lose favor with you, and with you ending up neglecting him.
Making the long story short, before getting any pet, one must think many times and make sure that he is ready for anything that may arise and also to accept all the responsibility that comes with it. It is only fair that we do.