The Flash and Thelma Memorial Hedgehog Rescue

 

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Major General Spikers:

We obtained Major General Spikers from Heather Blank in Dallas when she could no longer accommodate more hedgehogs and was forced to take in this newest rescue.  Spikers had some health problems, which included a body odor and a combative nature with other hedgehogs (he was OK with humans).  We solved the body odor problem very quickly, as it was due to a fold in his skin near his rear end that trapped waste (I am told that some horses have this problem also). 
Spikers seemed to have a military solution for every hedgehog interaction: 
Attack.  MG Spikers in IHR registered hedgehog number 1248 and was born about August 1996 (based upon anecdotal information and quill sharpness).  He joined the rescue on August 15, 1998.  MG Spikers came into the rescue weighing about 700 grams and stayed in the high 600s for over a year.  Then he started losing weight gradually, falling as low as 440 grams and definitely NOT looking very good (gaunt, hollow).  We put him back on higher fat diets and he is now near 500 grams.  I estimate he looks his best (being large boned and all) at about 550 grams.  He is a male Chocolate White atelerix albiventris (Central African) hedgehog.  Recently, we have tried to fix up MG Spikers with a hedgehog pal.  The only hedgehog he would tolerate was Wumpling, perhaps because she outweighed him by over 2 to 1.  Wumpling has shown an affinity to Spikers and treats him very lovingly (snuggling, lapping him on the face, etc.). 
Spikers does not appear to know what to do about this except to note that Wumpling is one big hedgehog.  The two of them did get along very well at the outdoor events and the educational programs we put on over the summer.

Melanie:

Weighing only 94 grams at a little over eight weeks of age, we did not know if this underweight Algerian Brown female hedgehog would survive.  She was sold through the Denver pet wholesaler and arrived at our rescue on September 5, 1998.  We did not need to worry.  Melanie rapidly gained weight and it was apparent from the very beginning that she had all the makings of a “therapeutic” hedgehog (a real snuggler that could relate well to other hedgehogs).  Melanie has a very striking black face mask that makes for a very attractive appearance.  She gained so much
weight in her first year that she was considered slightly overweight by the time of the hedgehog show in Colorado Springs (July, 1999) and did not even place in the competition, weighing about 430 grams.  However, coming into October, 1999, she had trimmed down to 360 grams and went on to be awarded the grand champion awards for the International Hedgehog Registry and Hedgehogs Northwest, as well as Best of Show at the HHNW show in Seattle.  She is therefore our best example of what a rescue hedgehog can do.  Her disposition is exceptional and she is a very calm, collected, yet energetic hedgehog that gets along well with hedgehog and human alike.  Melanie is IHR registered hedgehog number 1249.  Her best pals are Pokie and Little Flash.

Wumpling

A chocolate central African hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris), International Hedgehog Registry registered hedgehog number 2253 was born in November of 1995 and is a retired breeding mom from a Denver area breeder.  She is a very large hedgehog tipping the scales at between 800 and 1,000 grams.  She is overweight but big boned and probably would look her best at about 700 grams.  She has resisted losing weight since arriving at the rescue in December of 1998.  Because of her size, she is a bit pushy with other hedgehogs but is generally congenial.  She is rather stand-offish with humans but Standing Bear has made a lot of headway with her since her arrival.  She was housed with Louise and Grumpy, who are two hedgehogs that will not tolerate being pushed around.  However, whenever Wumpling is housed with other hedgehogs, a minimum of two food dishes must be provided as she has the annoying habit of lying on top of a food dish and even going to sleep in that position.  Wumpling came upon her rather unusual name as the victim of a typographical error.  Her original caretaker sent email messages to her friends wanting to tell them about her new pet Dumpling, but she hit the W instead of the D.  As with many pets, especially small animals, Wumpling was cast aside as the caretaker went off to college and her parents did not want to care for her, as is often the case in this throwaway society.  Wumpling has a zany personality and is a sheer delight - especially in doing educational programs for children where Wumpling has a chance to wander around and explore. 
Because of her weight, her comparatively dainty legs and feet cannot be seen when she walks and so it seems as if she is sliding across the ground.  Because Wumpling seemed to get along with Major General Spikers at educational events, they were placed together in January of 2000.  The match-up worked, with Wumpling and the General snuggling on occasion. 

Silverbelle

 A chocolate Algerian north African hedgehog (Atelerix algirus), International Hedgehog Registry registered hedgehog Number 42, Silverbelle was born in September of 1996 and is a retired breeding mom from Antigone Means Hedgehog Valley/Mountain.  She was one of the first hedgehogs to be registered.  Originally brought in to be a therapeutic hedgehog due to her naturally sweet disposition, she contracted irritable bowel syndrome several months after her arrival at The Flash and Thelma Memorial Hedgehog Rescue in March of 1999.  It may be safe to say that no hedgehog has had as many medical tests as has Silverbelle:  Urine, fecal, full blood panels, xray, a full body MRI, and exploratory surgery.  The surgical and pathologic diagnosis was very bleak:  End stage biliary hyperplasia (terminal liver disease).  In August, 1999, the pathology report stated that death was imminent.  Also in August of 1999 we started Silverbelle on milk thistle in her water and had her analyzed for homeopathic remedies and started her on homeopathic medicine. 
Immediately before writing this on February 6, 2000, over five months after the terminal imminent death diagnosis, Silverbelle was tooling along on her wheel, getting off just long enough to lap me on the face.  Over that period she has been chipper and fairly active, her bowel syndrome having its ups and downs, and her weight fluctuating in a delicate range between 212 and 250 grams up until January, 2000, when her weight increased to as high as 314 grams.  She is now in the 300-314 gram range, her sides have filled out and she is extremely strong for her size.  Silverbelle is an excellent example of survival and is our little hero.  Through all of this, her disposition has remained very upbeat and friendly.

Waylon:

Waylon is an albino hedgehog that was born around March of 1998.  He has spent most of his life in a ten gallon aquarium, often with other hedgehogs.  I first saw him in a pet shop in mid-1998 housed with Bozeman.  We took Bozeman in as our first  potential male therapeutic hedgehog, and Waylon stayed behind.  Although confined to small quarters, the pet shop did provide fresh quality food, clean bedding and fresh water. 
Waylon was finally purchased by a young man who was eventually ordered by his landlord to get rid of either his cat or the hedgehog.  Since he had had the cat longer than the hedgehog, he gave Waylon to the people he had gotten the cat from, a family who lived in a rural part of the county.  They put Waylon, still housed in a 10 gallon aquarium, up for sale.  Our rescue canvasses the newspaper ads in northern Colorado and the Denver area for hedgehogs.  As is our custom, we went out to look at the hedgehog and there was Waylon (the young man had changed his name to “Babe”).  As usual we offered to take him into the rescue.  About two weeks later we were called and the family, which consisted of the parents, seven children, three dogs, seven cats, and a goat or two, offering Waylon to the rescue, commenting that hedgehogs make “stupid pets” because all they do is either sleep or sit there and stare at you and poop on you as soon as you pick them up.  In Waylon’s defense, I had to remark that you’d probably act that way, too, if you were kept in a ten gallon aquarium all your life.  Waylon turned out to be an absolute delight.  Curious and zany, is a veritable bundle of energy and hits the ground with all four legs moving.  He is capable of incredible bursts of speed and loves to wheel.  Because of his sense of mad abandon, flinging poop in every direction bothers him not one bit, which is why he got the nickname “Waylon the Slob.”  At least, being an albino dirt can be spotted easily.  It seems as if he is making up for lost time after all those months confined to the aquarium.  Almost always relaxed, he is more intent on running than keeping his quills up.  His quills are rather long for his size and are very luxuriant, his having been complimented on his quills by many at shows.  He has an odd way of running with his back feet splaying out to the sides and him staying close to the ground.  He seemed glad to be reunited with Bozeman and he, Bozeman, and Miwacle are housed together and can often be found snuggling in their upholstered house.  These guys dispel the myth that male hedgehogs cannot be housed together.

Critical Bill:

Our most skittish hedgehog, Critical Bill, IHR number 2264, is a Chocolate Chip male central African atelerix albiventris.  We estimate his date of birth as August, 1998, but really we have no idea, but are judging on how sharp his quills are.  He was thrown from a car onto an elementary school playground.  The school called local animal control and we wound up with him.  I guess I would be untrusting of humans if that happened to me.  He does get along well with other hedgehogs, or at least he did with Edgar, an albino that came into the rescue with him.  We have kept him by himself since Edgar was adopted out, but perhaps it is time to introduce him to another male.  Critical Bill came into the rescue weighing 380 grams and now weighs 510 grams.  He is very clean and uses the litter box, but he does poop all over his wheel which he loves.  He keeps his waterer and food bowl exceptionally clean.  At the last Seattle show, Jessica Elrod tried to work with him for a while and made a little headway, but the fact remains that Critical Bill could win any pricklebutt contest hands, or rather quills down.

Roscoe:

Handed over to the local humane society/animal control, Roscoe remained wrapped up in a ball whenever humans approached.  The young couple dropping Roscoe off stated that “he” had had veterinary care and a physical exam about a year ago.  Upon giving Roscoe a bath, two discoveries were made.  One, Roscoe had a huge visible tumor the size of a golf ball behind the left front leg and, 2. Roscoe is a girl (so much for veterinary competence in this case).  Coming in at 404 grams, this chocolate Algerian hedgehog was set up for surgery immediately.  Post surgery, Roscoe went down to 308 grams and the huge tumor was a lymphoma, meaning that the cancer will be permanently in her system.  Roscoe is fairly energetic, sporadically wheels (sometimes overdoes it and gets bloody feet) and has a rather strange personality.  Although she huffs and clicks a lot around humans, she hugs your hand when picked up and during bath time is quite affectionate.  She is the second oldest hedgehog in residence at the rescue at 4 and a half years of age.  Her quills are very dense and luxuriant and a little blunted from age, so she is a joy to hold.  She will lay her quills down when held and seems to enjoy being petted.  The last time she got her feet bloody from running, we used the opportunity to put her under mild anesthesia to medicate her feet and have the veterinarian palpate her for masses.  No masses!  Roscoe is one of the six hedgehogs here at the rescue on homeopathic remedies.  Since her surgery in October of 1999, Roscoe has regained her weight and is now at 410 grams.  She is IHR registered hedgehog number 3114.

Vula indlela:

This Cinnicot central African hedgehog, Vula indlela is the first “educational” hedgehog arriving at the rescue, a gift from High Country Hedgies in Colorado Springs.  Since we are now doing educational programs, we are seeking to round out the resident population with hedgehogs of different colors and temperaments.  Arriving without a name, we decided to name this hedgehog with a traditional African tribal name and had a lot of fun on the Internet hedgehog mailing lists running a contest to see if folks could guess his name.  Vula indlela in Zulu language means “to make open the way,” a fitting educational name.  Later, other hedgehogs entering the rescue would receive African traditional names if their preexisting names were so common so as to be nearly meaningless (such as “Sonic”).  Vula indlela arrived as a very young man having been born in July 1999.  His intake weight was 318 grams and he now weighs 450 grams. 
Being young, his quills are very sharp and being skittish, he is fairly painful to handle.  He is IHR registered hedgehog number 3126. 

Sonicker:

Our oldest hedgehog in the rescue will be five years old in May 2000.  She is an unusual brown hemiechinus auritus long eared hedgehog that weighed in at 330 grams and has not changed in weight appreciably.  She has been in the rescue for a little over two months, having been given up by a family who, as is so often the case, has grown tired of her.  It was the typical scenario of the teen aged child now being interested in other things and the parents not willing to care for the hedgehog. 
Sonicker presented herself as a curious hedgehog that held her body and head in rather unusual ways.  Upon closer inspection, it was realized that Sonicker is completely blind (cataracts).  She is quite friendly if approached slowly from the front where she can get a scent, but is very skittish if approached from any other angle.  For this reason, our attempts to match her up with another hedgehog have failed.  At her age and the fact that she gets around quite well (coupled with the fact that eyesight is not a particularly keen sense among hedgehogs), we are not favorably disposed to eye surgery.  However, it is possible that an excellent local animal eye surgeon may donate the cataract removal operation.  Having surgery may be useful in finding Sonicker a friend.  Also kept in a small aquarium for all of her life, Sonicker has enjoyed her new space and especially her wheel. 
As with many previously wheel-deprived hedgehogs, Sonicker has overdone it to the tune of bloody feet, which we remedy with tea tree balm. 

 

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