Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bringing Home Baby!

The day had finally arrived. First things first: what to wear? After searching through my closet, I finally settled on a peachy lace dress and brown cardigan. (I wanted to make a good first impression on our hedgehog!)

We set off on the hour-long journey to pick up our baby. As usual, we were running late, but that didn't hamper our enthusiasm. Soon we would meet our new addition and bring him home.

With the help of our handy-dandy GPS, we made good time and found ourselves standing outside a cute green and yellow house with a metal fence. We snapped a quick picture (and by "we" I mean me) and rang the doorbell.

A tall man who looked to be in his 30's opened the door. We shook hands and he invited us in. He took us over to his living room and we introduced ourselves. It turned out that he is a special education teacher who breeds hedgehogs in the summer. He was actually a pretty cool guy, and we could tell he wanted to make sure his hedgehogs went to a good home. After a little bit, we were ready to meet our hedgie. He picked a box up off the table and reached inside. We heard a hissing sound and out came a small, wiggly ball of quills. Our baby!

He began telling us about the care and feeding of hedgehogs, but unfortunately I was so captivated by the small, squirmy creature in his hands, I missed most of what he said.

I worked up the courage to ask to hold him and immediately realized I had no idea what I was doing. The poor little guy was so scared by the strange fingers trying to grab hold of him, he kept hissing and pointing his quills straight up at me. I tried again, this time using the t-shirt I had brought to take him home in, but our hedgie was still so grumpy and squirmy. I started to get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. How on earth was I going to take care of this little guy when I couldn't even hold him without a t-shirt or gloves?

The man must have read my mind (or seen the scared look on my face) because he explained that baby hedgehogs need time to get used to new humans and will eventually feel more comfortable with my husband and I. Before I had the chance to feel relieved, he continued on and said, "When taking him out of his cage, however, you'll need to get used to getting poked by his quills. He doesn't know that you're not a predator until he feels your fingers under him." That didn't make me feel better, but taking another look at his little face did. I'd have to get used to him the way he'd have to get used to me. And in the meantime, I'd make my husband take him out of his cage.

We talked a little more, signed the papers, and the adoption was final. We were the proud parents of a new baby boy...hedgehog. We put him in the shoebox we had brought along and headed home, wondering what adventures were in store.

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