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Old 12-02-2019, 05:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Getting used to a new environment?

So, to start, I have anxiety, OCD, depression, and a learning disorder, so I have a ten month old female hedgehog named Wendy as my emotional support animal. I have had her since she was three months old, so I have a good bond with her. She has a note from my psychiatrist, and my college has allowed her to stay with me in my dorm after I provided them with documentation of my disabilities. It's a college specifically for people with learning disorders, like ADD, dyslexia, and autism, so they are very accommodating about things like this and used to students with emotional support animals and service animals (which are not the same thing. Please do your research before posting that they are )

A few things you should know:
1.) She is properly cared for. My dorm room is large, with plenty of space for me to put her 8 square foot cage. She has two ceramic heat emitters to keep the cage around 77 degrees Fahrenheit at all times, which the school allows.
2.) I live in a very quiet dorm, as dorms go, so there's not a ton of noise that could scare her. People don't even talk in the hallways much. Wendy is also used to the noises of people chattering.
3.) I've talked to my roommate, and she knows not to touch Wendy's cage or her lamps and lighting setup. She and I are also very quiet when we're in the room, aside from us talking at a normal volume. We never have other people in the room (besides my boyfriend, who Wendy is used to, and who knows not to make a lot of noise around her during this transition). My roommate is also okay with the smell (though I spot clean the cage every morning), and the noises Wendy makes at are very quiet, because her CSBW is almost silent.
4.) She has a lamp that goes on during the day and goes off at night, giving her the light she needs.

I moved Wendy into the room yesterday. The college is about a two hour drive from my house, so I kept her in a hard sided carrier with a disposable hand warmer wrapped in a towel and her digital thermometer to make sure she didn't get cold. She slept the whole trip up.

I made sure everything was perfect for Wendy's move into college with me. I have all of her supplies and I'm prepared for giving her foot baths, cleaning the cage, and all the rest.

What bothers me is that Wendy didn't come out of her igloo last night. I checked her food bowl this morning and she hadn't eaten anything. The two things that could have caused this, I've decided, are:
1.) The light in the room doesn't fully go off until around 12, when my roommate and I go to sleep. I made a little fort of blankets and cardboard around the cage to try to fix this problem, so it was pretty dark in the cage but not completely dark. When the lights went off at 12, it was pitch dark in the room. She didn't come out even then, which makes me think what could have really caused this was:
2.) She's just extremely stressed from the big move. She met a few new people yesterday, but I tried to limit that to just my roommate and two of my friends. She also drove up with me all the way there, and she had to deal with me putting her cage in the room and everything. It's a lot for one hedgie to deal with. She has been extremely huffy every time I pick her up, which leads me to think she's just stressed.

I know she's not attempting hibernation because I checked on her this morning and she feels warm. She was active when I had her out of the cage this morning, and she even went exploring on my bed. The only thing that's really wrong is that she didn't come out of her igloo last night.

What do you think? Am I forgetting anything? How can I make this transition time less stressful for her? I'm trying to do everything right so that she's the happiest she can be. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think you've done every right, the only thing is, I do this whenever I take Holly away on holiday - I take some of the bedding from what she already had so she knows it, I also take material toys some that I slept with and some that she already had so that both mine and her scents are there and she'a used to both of those which helps.
Having scents they know helps to keep them calmer and less stressed with a new place. Maybe you could do that now so she has a familiar smell in with her.

I also try to make sure that the cage is set up the same way so that there isnt a huge change in everything.

The only other thing is try to keep everything else the same - when you get her out, when the lights go off - some hogs are fine with a small amount of light, others it has to be pitch dark.
Also if she is used to noise you don't have to be extra quite, if she's used to more noise and now gets basically non, that might not be liked by her - I know that Holly hates it

Other than that I don't really know what else you can do apart from give her time to adjust.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ria, that's a great idea. I've been bundling her up in my sweatshirt that smells like home, which seems to calm her down. Ok, I'll keep what you said about the noise in mind. I pretty much talk at a normal volume around her, and she seems okay with that. She also came out last night and ate and ran on her wheel! I'm super relieved. I think I was just overly anxious about everything, haha. She's still a little huffy when I pick her up, but it seems like she was just getting used to everything.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thats good, sounds like she is doing well with adjusting. Just remember that when you go back home she might need to re adjust to there.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Alright, I'll definitely keep that in mind. Thanks for your help! She did well last night. She's much less huffy with me now, and she's been eating and running on her wheel.
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