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Old 12-29-2015, 06:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default might need a new family...

Hello everyone,

I live in Japan, and I've been the happy owner of my hedgehog Spartacus for 2.5 years now.



Unfortunately, last year I've gone through a painful divorce, which caused my already-existing depression to reach levels that I didn't even know existed. In fact, if I hadn't had the responsibility of caring for the well-being of my little friend, well... I'd rather not think about that.

I'm planning on heading back to Canada some time next year, because honestly, there is nothing left for me in this country, and I think that staying here exacerbates my depression.

The problem is, I'm thinking of joining the army... not a very hedgehog-owner friendly lifestyle, right? I mean, here in Japan, I'm an English teacher, I'm well loved by all the kids and adults and I do a great job. But back in Canada, there isn't really much I can do with that skill set. I'm 30 years old, I'm really fit and healthy, and I want to do something with my life before it's too late.

My parents also travel a lot between our 2 houses (7 hours car ride), so it would be difficult to ask them to perform the daily tasks of cleaning the cage/wheel and feeding Spartacus. Especially since they might be absent for several days at a time, so that doesn't work at all.

Basically, I have no idea what to do. I could bring him to an animal shelter, maybe. But I know what happens if nobody adopts those animals... if he had to be put down because of a failure to find a new home, I... well, the worst part is that I probably would never even know, and I can't bear to live with that thought.

Another possibility would be to bring him back to Canada, and try to find a family for him there, but that might not go any better. In fact... he's not a very friendly pet, and most of our time together consists of him sleeping on a pocket while I watch TV/work at the computer. I'm afraid that other owners might not be interested in taking care of him...

The last option is that I just stay here and only go back to my country at the end of his life. I think I owe it to the little guy to look after him for as long as he needs me to.
Advice from anyone?

Last edited by Nicolas; 12-29-2015 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Nicolas!

I'm sorry to hear about your divorce and depression. I was diagnosed with depression when I was 11 and have been battling it ever since (I'm almost 29), along with a side of borderline personality disorder, so I know how rough that can be, and how much having something to care for can keep you going, even when you really don't want to keep going. It seems like you've considered your options pretty well, so now you just have to pick one. Or you could always have another option fall out of nowhere, so be open to that possibility, too.

It is, of course, ultimately up to you, but if I were in your position, here's my thought process:

Hedgehogs don't live all that long, and since little Spartacus is already 2 and a half, it might be worth delaying your return trip for another few years, if that's possible. Many hedgies only live to 5 years old, and some don't even make it that far.

If that's definitely not an option, I'd start looking into finding a home for him in Japan with someone you know, or an acquaintance of someone you know. Since you teach English, you could ask students and coworkers if they or anyone they know is looking for a hedgehog. Make sure you explain his nature to anyone interested. Everyone on the forum gets that they're kind of a different sort of pet, personality-wise, but many "normies" won't know anything about it.

If that goes poorly, you'll have to look into the laws around bringing Spartacus home with you, as I wouldn't risk leaving him at a Japanese shelter or rescue, just to be on the safe side. I know you can bring him to Canada, but I don't know how many hoops you have to jump through to get him through customs. So you'll have to look that up and decide if that's worthwhile. There will probably be a required vet trip and possibly a quarantine period.

If bringing him back is worthwhile, finding a home for him here should be a bit easier. There are quite a few Canadians on the forum and many of us are open to adopting an extra hedgehog from someone like you. If you can't find anyone here to take him, we also have a few options for hedgehog-specific no-kill rescues. Hopefully one of those members shows up to tell you more about that. On top of the hedgie rescues, there are quite a few no kill shelters around, so those are always an option as well.

Do you know where in Canada you would be living until you join the army? If you're in Alberta, or willing to go for a bit of a drive, I would probably be able to take Spartacus once you get him into the country. I have my own pet room, and I could easily build a second cage to put beside my current hedgehog.

So there's a few things for you to think about. Hopefully that helps, at least somewhat!

Oh! Sidenote! If you're still really depressed, keep him and stay in Japan for now. Trust me, don't sell him. It gives you an excuse to do something stupid once he's not there to care for.
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Last edited by FinnickHog; 12-29-2015 at 07:00 AM. Reason: Added a sidenote
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Old 12-29-2015, 07:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow, first of all, your reply made me feel a lot better, so thanks for that!

I basically came to Japan a few times throughout high school to visit my pen-pal, which led to us falling madly in love (teenage Disney-type "troo love") and I came here as soon as I finished College, with no clear goal at all for my life.
Worst idea ever. Turns out she had some... interesting personality flaws that I didn't know about, and drove me to insanity little by little.
The lack of life planning is starting to hit me back in the face...

Well, enough about that.
I highly appreciate your offer, and if I do decide to come back to Canada sooner rather than later, I will absolutely let you know. Unfortunately, I'll be all the way on the opposite side of you, in Quebec! However, I will definitely do what I need to do to make sure that Spartacus gets the life that he deserves...
Would you be open to picking him up at the airport perhaps? I wonder if I could clear customs in Alberta, give you a call to pick him up, before continuing to Quebec on my own? You know, if one of you guys could take him, that would be amazing because that means I could keep in touch!

I will research what I need to do before taking the plane as well. How does that even work? I don't want him to get cold, get hurt, or who knows what else could happen during a plane ride!
Any other information about how to get a hedgehog into Canada would be very helpful, and I will start doing my own research in the meantime.

Note that I'm still thinking about it... I might just stay here until he dies, but realistically, I need to consider my own sanity as well... plus, if I'm gonna try to join the army, it'd probably be best to do that sooner rather than later, right? I'm not getting any younger! And one more thing to consider, is that if I decide to bring him back, it would be easier on him if I did that before he gets too old!

Anyway, thank you so much!

Last edited by Nicolas; 12-29-2015 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 12-29-2015, 07:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm so glad I could help!

Aww that's too bad. I would love to live in Japan but that may not have been the best circumstances to do so .

It's always opposite ends of the country, isn't it? I would definitely be willing to pick him up at an airport, assuming that's an option. I'm closest to Edmonton. If not, I know there are a few people from Quebec around on here.

We'll have to do some research into how customs handles things like that. I was planning on buying a specific breed of dog from Australia someday so I have done a little bit of information-gathering, and it seems like it's not too bad from Australia to Canada, but I have no clue what Japan to Canada is like. There was a lady (I think?) on here a few months ago that took her(his?) hog from Canada to Japan, and she(?) managed it without too much trouble. (S)he ended up contacting someone to help him(her?) through it. Let me see if I can find that thread...

Here we go. Thread: https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...vel-japan.html

And the website they used: http://www.maff.go.jp/aqs/english/animal/im_index.html

My Japanese is pathetic at best. I only have half a year of university-level. So navigating the website is your job .

Naturally, on the Canada side of things, there's no section for "hedgehogs", but here's a decent place to start: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/.../1326600500578

Some airlines will let you fly with a pet in the cabin if it fits under your seat. Some airlines won't, and have a heated section in their cargo. If that's the case, finding a way to keep Spartacus warm enough for that stupidly long flight will be interesting. Most airlines also require a hard-sided crate made of plastic for small mammals, so that will help to keep him safe. But we can work that out after we get through all the legal requirements.

If you need to get ahold of me urgently, or honestly, if you just need to talk about stuff, feel free to send me a private message on my profile page. I'm one of them weird "good listener" people . Let me know what you learn and if you decide on a hedgehog plan!

For now though, I need to sleep. It's 4:40 am here <.<

Have fun with your research!
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Last edited by FinnickHog; 12-29-2015 at 07:46 AM. Reason: I can't speel
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Old 12-29-2015, 08:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Woah, I'm definitely going to find one that allows for him to be under the seat, then! That's a relief, I was afraid he'd be in some back room with piles of bags all around him and nobody to make sure he's alright.
Still, I would imagine that he would be really dirty with piss at the end of that trip!! Not to mention hungry, and messed up with the jet lag! It'd be a sorry way to say good bye... Poor guy, I hate to do that to him. But I'm sure he'll be happy once settled!

I've got a very preliminary plan for this, where I'd try to make the trip next August, maybe. I could arrange to take the plane to Edmonton and maybe continue the rest of my way by train or something. We'll see! A lot can change in that time, but that sounds pretty good to me right now!

Gonna talk to my parents as well, and who knows, maybe we'll find someone in or around Quebec who could take him also!
Phew, already this is starting to look a lot better than it did a few hours ago! I'm so glad I found this site, you guys are great!
Talk again soon!
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Old 12-29-2015, 02:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hello! Just wanted to let you know that I could take Spartacus with me (I am in Montréal, Québec)
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Old 12-29-2015, 11:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Mhh, I thought I had posted another message, but it seems like it hasn't been posted for some reason.

Anyway, I'm extremely relieved to see that others from Canada are able to help out!
At this moment, it looks like I might be heading back to Canada sometime in 2016.

However, I'm not 100% sure what I'll do once there. To tell the truth, I would like to go back and study 3D animation; I did graphic design in College, but came to Japan at 21 years old, and never really did anything with it. I took the easy way out, and went looking for English teaching jobs instead (because my Japanese wasn't good at the time)...

My parents own a big appartment in Montreal, and if I chose that option, I can stay there if I want while in College. Joining the army was just... a thing I was gonna do because I didn't know what else to do. Yeah, I felt pretty bad yesterday

In other words, if this planning works out, I'll be able to take care of him myself! And if it doesn't work out, well, I feel great knowing that people here can help, so he'll be fine no matter what.
Thanks everyone!
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Old 12-30-2015, 09:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I am sure Spartacus would love to stay with you, but if it become that it is not an option anymore and you bring him in Canada, you can contact me and it will be a pleasure to take care of him. Wish you good luck
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hello Nicolas! I hope you are doing better these days. I am also diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; so I know how difficult it is. I do hope that you can bring your little guy with you or you will still be his caretaker. If not, I hope that he goes to a loving home. My hedgehog, Chestnut, was given to me as a present last December 2014 - it was the most difficult time of my life as I just had to stop school for my treatment. My family decided that to have a pet around me, one who will give me meaning would be one of the best therapies there is. So I can truly understand your bond with your baby Spartacus.

I wish you all the best. I agree with everything that FinnickHog said. Good luck in your travels; I hope that you and Spartacus will find what you are looking for
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Old 01-03-2016, 08:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Alright guys, it's decided.
I'm pretty sure that I will be heading back to Canada some time in April. Now, I need some advice about making the trip as stress-free as possible for my pet.

I was hoping that I could let him run in his wheel one last night, then put the wheel in the trash the next morning (I'll get a new one in Canada), and take the plane somewhere around noon that day. This would be ideal for him, because most of the trip would overlap his sleeping period.

However... it seems like a medical exam will be required about 12 hours before boarding? I need to check to make sure.

Anyway, because of that medical check, it's possible that we will be out of the home for a very, very long period (24+ hours) with no chance to get back home between the checkup and boarding the plane. But the thing is, he usually only eats and drinks when we're at home, when everything is quiet. If we have to be out of the house for 24+ hours, I'm afraid I won't be able to get him to eat or drink during that entire time!

In fact, I know for sure that on arrival in Canada, he will be dirty, grumpy, annoyed, have jet lag, and have no idea what's going on. But I'm mostly worried with regards to feeding him. Is it ok for a hedgehog to go for such an extended period with no food or water? Should I overfeed him meal worms when I have a chance before leaving? It's the only food where he'll just eat it non-stop no matter how much I give him. I usually don't give him too many, but should I fill him up before the trip just to make sure?

And what about water? I doubt it would even be possible to force him to drink during the trip, even if he is thirsty... I think he'll just get grumpy and try to hide.

As for keeping him warm... in Japan, they sell these:


It's a thing that turns warm once opened. It has a sticky side, and people usually stick them to the inside of their shirt, or just keep them in their hands to warm their fingers. I was thinking of buying a bunch of those, and taping them around the case that Spartacus will be in (I don't want them to be inside, because I don't want him to scratch them or play with them). But the problem is, I think they don't last for very long... so that might not really be a good option, unless I fill by entire backpack with them!!!

Any other ideas for keeping him warm? If I fill his container with blankets, would that be enough to keep him warm from his own body heat? Surely, the airplane itself won't be too cold, so it might not be that big of a problem, but it's still something to consider.

Lastly (and there probably isnt't really anything I can do about that...), he will probably piss and poop in his own container, and since it's not very spacious, well... I think you get the picture! But I can't think of any ways to keep him from being completely soiled within a few hours of leaving the house. I don't imagine that it'll be possible to clean him, or even throw out the poop once in the plane. ****, I'm even afraid that the stink might bother the person sitting next to me!!! Because when I approach his cage at night, I can definitely smell it!
Any ideas?

Last edited by Nicolas; 01-03-2016 at 08:40 AM.
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