I know it’s been awhile since I have posted an update but considering the apocalypse that is 2020 there has been a lot going on so can you really blame me? Unfortunately this post is not going to make things much better. We recently had to say goodbye to our lovely little ball of spikes, Holly. Although she was full of personality and spunk, she unfortunately kept coming down with health issues that built up over time, to the point where it was cruel to keep trying to treat her as opposed to letting her pass. It’s a hard pill to swallow considering how much she was loved both here and in our house, but that’s 2020 for you right?
To give a quick rundown of what happened, over the course of a couple weeks I noticed that she stopped running on her wheel, although outside of that she was acting completely normal. She was still eating her food, still enjoying being held and chowing down on treats, just not into running on her wheel. I tried adjusting the height, rearranging her cage, whatever I could think to give her some enrichment and get her out of her funk, but no dice. This was concerning but otherwise she had no serious symptoms worth taking her to the vet.
After a week or so of this, she started to get very resistant to being held. Her skin started to take on a different color, and her stomach started getting firm, as if she had eaten a rock. The next day we found blood in her urine and knew that we had an emergency on our hands. After taking her to the emergency vet it was determined that she had cancer, and that was already at a fairly advanced stage. Our options were to attempt another surgery, and chemotherapy, on the off chance that she could be saved (and this was a low chance that she could be saved, or to put her down and keep her from dealing with more suffering.
It was a fairly easy choice to make at this point as she has already undergone multiple surgeries when her eyes had become infected, and seemed like she had spent more of her life unwell than fully healthy. Unfortunately many hedgehogs are prone to health issues due to breeding, and it seems like she was just one of the unlucky ones. So we decided to bring her home, pump her full of as many of her favorite mealworms, and then have her put down in the morning.
Knowing that this was the right thing to do never really made it any easier. I am still fairly torn up about it days later. Although hedgehogs are not known as being as emotive as a dog or a cat, the entire time she was with us, Holly was able to show off a tremendous personality. She was adventurous and curious in equal measure. She absolutely loved to explore the world around her. One of my favorite things to do was to take her out in the backyard and let her loose in the flowerbeds. Watching her crawl around and search for bugs, hide under piles of leaves, just be completely immersed in her natural element was a real treat.
It’s going to be hard going into the holiday season without her, but I am trying to stay focused on the positives. There are thousands of people who are going to be missing loved ones during Christmas and New Years this year and I am going to be thankful that I still get to celebrate with Amy and my other family members even as we mourn our little bushbacon. If I could ask for one favor from me to any of my readers out there this year it would be to give your own pets an extra hug from us. It’s something I will miss. Figuratively of course. It’s impossible to comfortably hug a hedgehog.