Last September I blogged about my childhood experiences with pets and the pets we’ve cared for in our home.
In brief, I had 2 outdoor dogs that I neither fed nor played with. My siblings and I weren’t mean to these animals and my dad was attentive to them, but my mother had been raised on a farm and brought us up to consider cats to be hunters and dogs to be herders.
Our children were not raised on a farm. They think of animals as friends and companions. For Emma in particular, Pets Really Do Matter.
We’ve had several pets over the years. Our family had just survived kitty purgatory last September when I blogged.
A woman I’d taught with knew that Emma had been volunteering at our local veterinary clinic. She had found 4 kitties and I (Franklin reminded me many times that weekend that this was not a “we” decision) agreed to nurse them for 3 nights until the veterinary clinic opened.
We’d never cared for newborn kittens and learned a great deal from our 3 days in kitty-purgatory. While he hadn’t been included in the decision to accept the “care for these kitties” challenge, Franklin helped the kids and I make the best of what may well be our worst weekend ever. We weathered the weekend (with 3 kitty deaths and burials) and were grateful when a more experienced lover-of-cats took the final kitty, Hope, into her home.
I wrapped up my blog with the following paragraph:
Emma turned 12 on Thursday. Her one gift request was a hedgehog. I should probably have done more research on the ins and outs of hedgehog ownership before I said yes. You would think I would have learned a lesson from our weekend in kitty purgatory but again, Emma’s pleading brown eyes tipped the scales. I’ll keep you posted.
Twix the Hedgehog passed away over night this Wednesday. She had been abandoned and had lived for 3 years at the veterinary’s clinic before joining our tribe. She was an old hedgehog when she was adopted, and was a member of our family for 13 months.
Twix was unusually feisty when Emma adopted her. She would “hiss” and bristle when someone tried to hold her. It wasn’t long before Twix realized she was well-loved and mellowed, allowing friends and family to hold and play with her. Emma and Caden treated Twix like a princess.
Twix spend her days swimming in our bathroom sink, crawling on the kids, and “tubing” throughout her kingdom. She slept on a heating pad guarding her PlayMobile castle inside her 4’x2’ realm in Emma’s room .
Her passing was very quick and unexpected. We believe she succumbed to Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome, a debilitating condition with an innocuously cute name.
While we were caught off guard by her passing and have shed many tears, I’ve seen a practical side to Emma that clearly marks her as mine. Having researched Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome, Emma knew Twix would suffer until her death.
Thus ends another chapter in the Smith Pet Chronicles. Stay tuned. I’m fairly certain this in not the final entry.