This year has been an exciting year. I did finally buy a car. And not just any car, but a car that completely and utterly reflects my personality:
I named it Nessie.
Thus having established the maturity and good sense I have achieved over the years, I will explain the title of this post.
I really did buy a hedgehog. His name is Sebastian (not Sonic because that has been done… about a billion times already… and he is not blue).
Now, I would like to predict the reactions from the various people who know me. For the most part, friends and family, after you have recovered from your initial astonishment at seeing such an odd creature displayed above, you are not really all that surprised. In fact, many of you are wondering to yourselves how I have not already done something so ridiculous before.
I mean, I own Bella the megalomaniacal bunny, the glorious warrior betta named Beofish, and Thor and Loki the Asgardian hamster brothers who (predictably) had to be separated because they kept fighting. There is also my roommate’s cat Pangur Ban to consider, the magical cat who keeps forgetting how to be a cat. So how has my home managed to avoid a hedgehog for so long?
It really is a mystery.
I mean, look at him.
My mother’s reaction is probably a sort of mingling of shock and resignation. “Of course my older daughter has a hedgehog,” she will finally say to herself with a long sigh. “It was only a matter of time. This is what happens when you let a child with an unnatural pet fixation get a house of her own.”
But in my defense, I am fairly sure I inherited my love of animals from my parents. They currently own over a dozen cows, three pigs, countless chickens, a cat, and bees. Every time I visit the farm, there are more creatures. Okay, so perhaps all of their pets serve some sort of function and mine are all antisocial, neurotic, and/or narcissistic squatters… but still.
This is Sebastian when he isn’t interested in being social:
Contrary to what they told me at the pet shop (and I was aware of this when I bought him) hedgehogs are not low-maintenance pets. Honestly, if you want a low maintenance pet, get a cactus or a pet rock. Pets are meant to be cared for. If you don’t enjoy cleaning up poo (squidgy poo in the case of hedgies) or feeding them or dealing with teeth (or quills!), bad moods, or odd behavior, you probably are not meant to have a pet.
One happy solution if you love animals but dislike caring for them, as my good friend discovered, is simply to bring a susceptible pet-loving friend to a pet shop and convince her to buy the animal instead. That way, she can come and visit the hedgie, and I can take care of him. Yes, that’s essentially how I ended up with Sebastian. My friend now thinks she can get me to buy just about anything.
But I do have a system when it comes to new interests. Whenever I find myself fascinated with a new hobby or animal, I follow what I call my New Obsession Protocol, which means that I wait. I hold off on any sort of action until I have thoroughly researched the costs, time, pain, and effort involved in taking up whatever I am thinking of doing. I also give myself time for the initial enthusiasm to die down. If it doesn’t die down… well… hedgehogs happen.
And that’s what I did before I bought Sebastian. I learned everything there was to know about basic hedgie care and discovered that it isn’t difficult, but it also isn’t as simple as dumping in food and filling his water bottle every week. He is going to require daily care. He’s also going to take a lot of work if he’s ever going to become a more sociable creature.
Although I suspect that he will always be a bit of an introvert. That’s just hedgehogs for you.
So there you have it. I bought a hedgehog.
Life continues to be very interesting.