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Old 08-08-2014, 08:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Help! Having second thoughts about getting Hedgehog.

Im having second thoughts about getting my hedgehog. Can someone please tell me the story of their very first hedgehog and how they did the first month? Im scared of commitment, but I really want a pet to take care of because I need more responsibility in my life. Hedgies are the cutest things, and I've read everything on them, but I still feel not ready enough. Please help me. Im picking up my little girl in about 4 days. I don't want to have second thoughts, but I am. Help?
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, I'm not even close to the best person to ask about their first month. Mine was pretty insane.
But I'll tell you how much my heart warms when my first hedgie Sebastian curls up to sleep in the crook of my arm. It's like all the build up of stress through the day just melts away for those moments she is there.
Or when my emo hedgie Beauregard snuggles against my neck. Right then is worth all the poop and pokes and grumpy attitude I get from him the rest of the time.
Or maybe when Gabriel sparkles for me. His biting and attitude issue are swept away in that moment of absolute adorable.
Gayle, Tiberius. Same thing.
And my new boy Titan. I have only had him a week but tonight he did so well at the vet. I was so proud of him.
They aren't necessarily new experiences. But they are the best. And they make all the responsibility and time and effort totally worth it.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would have to say that if you aren't 100% sure you're ready to have a hedgehog then it would be better for both you and the hedgehog to wait. To many people get them then decide they aren't the right pet for them and then end up trying to rehome them.
Retired breeder and active HWS rescue station
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think it's healthy to doubt sometimes because it helps you think through important issues and eventually end up with a solution. It's definitely better to over-think and make the best decision possible rather than decide impulsively and makes the wrong call. I'm really happy with Dandelion and I doubted a lot before I brought her home. Initially I felt secure about my decision when I did all of my research, but the second thoughts came up when I actually held my first hedgehog. It was new, intimidating and made me question if I could take good care of this animal. All of a sudden it was real and I had to apply everything I thought I knew.

As unsettling as this was, it made me work through any hesitations I may have had at the time. I definitely suggest to spend some time with hedgies before you commit because, while you may have an idea of how an animal behaves, it's different when you're handling or own one. Take advantage of this forum. You can find out a lot about how owners and their hedgehogs interact. Most importantly, don't rush. If you're not sure in four days, don't buy one. Use as much time as you can to figure out everything. It took me months to research and prepare and then days after that first encounter with the hedgehogs to make a commitment. Remember that once you take a hedgehog home, it is totally dependent on you and you should give it the best life it can live for its whole life.
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Last edited by vulpine; 08-08-2014 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Agreed with Nikki. I don't think getting an animal that depends on you for everything, particularly one with such unique needs as a hedgehog, is a good way to teach yourself responsibility.
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nikki said it first, but that's what I came here to say. I never encourage anyone to get a hedgehog, because they are such complex little creatures and definitely not for the casual pet owner. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't realize this until it's too late. Hedgehogs are not good pets for the majority of people. The ones on You Tube are adorable and social and funny and sweet, but they don't normally come that way. It takes time and effort and patience with little or no positive feedback in the beginning. Sometimes never. Are you prepared to continue caring for an animal that not only doesn't appreciate what you do for it, but doesn't seem to care if you're around or not? An animal that doesn't come when you call it, doesn't play with toys, and doesn't seek out your companionship?

You are fortunate to realize that a hedgehog may not be the pet for you right now. Things happen for a reason. You came here expecting glowing stories of hedgehog relationships to validate your decision to get a hedgie, and you probably will get several, but please don't bring a hedgehog home unless you have no doubts when the time arrives.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's already been said, but I also agree that you should not get a hedgehog until you are 100% sure you have the time and are committed to life long care.

I know you will hear about many wonderful hedgehogs stories that will make you want to get one for yourself. You wanted stories of the first month of owning a hedgehog that were great so that they would seem like the right pet for you. However, the first month is probably a very discouraging time for a lot of people. The hedgehogs are huffy, don't know you and only care about being left alone. They aren't the pets that greet you as you walk into the room or instantly bond with you. You mentioned you want to learn how to be responsible, which is good, but owning a hedgehog is not the place to start.

Hedgehogs aren't just some responsibility, they're a lot. Every morning I spend at least a half hour or more scrubbing down the wheels and cleaning out the cage because every night they get everything filthy. I can't say they don't smell, either. When they run on the wheels at night it almost fans the poop smell around the whole room. I do more hedgehog laundry than I do my own, too. Hedgehogs need a schedule, one that stays constant nearly all of the time. They need a lot of work to maintain, and they are not for everybody.

Before you get one, you should ask yourself:
-Are you willing to spend your time scrubbing and cleaning up after them every morning?
-Are you able to give 30 minutes or more every single day to bonding?
-Are you okay that they won't be attached to you and probably won't care about you?
-Are you okay that your hedgehog is only awake at night and it isn't fair to them to force them to stay awake in the day?
-Are you able to get experience veterinary care if it's needed?
-Do you understand that you will get pooped on and that some refuse to use a litter box?

Those are the points I can think of right now, but I truly feel that if you doubt any one of those then a hedgehog might not be for you.
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have a different perspective because I didn't even want a hedgehog to begin with. It was my housemates idea. He wanted one. And now we have 6 healthy happy hedgies that are reasonably well socialized.
And they have all stolen my heart.
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I just want to chirp in and make a note that there IS a difference between a bit of pre-owning anxiety (Will I be good at this? I've never done this before, I'm nervous) vs. actual doubt (Do I actually want this? Do I really want to do it? Do I really believe that I will do what is necessary at all times) and its important to know which sort of "doubt" you're experiencing. If its the anxiety kind, I wouldn't necessarily follow everyone's advice here; I felt that anxiety on my way to get Benny, but it worked out. If its the doubt kind, definitely hold off. You can always get one later when you're sure you're ready.

As for the first month: It was hard. I was still learning and ended up in a panic just about every day ordering new things, not knowing what he was doing, overreacting, making mistakes. He wasn't my biggest fan. He wasn't adventurous, or affectionate, and I'm pretty sure he just wanted me to frig off 99.9999% of the time. Any time I looked at him, he'd huff up in a ball. He didn't want me to touch him, it hurt when I did. I've had him almost 2 months now, and I'm INCREDIBLY LUCKY, NOT THE NORM, that he's chilled out and we're friends now. Don't depend on this. Be prepared to spend an entire YEAR working on your relationship with him. While for me, it was incredibly rewarding to take care of him and do all this, I knew beforehand that I would actually do it and didn't mind doing it regardless of the rough path ahead.

So, if you're sure that you WILL take care of him how he needs and that you DON'T mind that he may never actually like you and could always be a perpetual grump, and you're just a bit nervous because its new, go for it.

If you're doing it because you just want a fun pet and you want to see if you can be responsible, and you're genuinely doubting whether or not you really want to or that its a good idea, HOLD OFF. They're not going extinct. You can get one later when you're ready.

Good luck with your decision!

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Old 08-20-2014, 10:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have yet another perspective. I did not think the decision to get a hedgie through. I saw the picture of my 8 month old boy and read that his owner wanted to sell him because she couldn't give him the time and attention that he deserves, and I knew I could.

I also have three children, so I know a thing or two about commitment, perseverance, and loving someone who doesn't seem to care much for you. I believe that's a plus. I think if you go into this with a mindset of "how can I give this tiny creature the best possible life?" versus "how can I turn this animal into a cuddle bug?" you set yourself up for success. I think that the only real handicap to successfully and satisfactorily owning a hedgie is false expectations.

Think of JFK: ask not what your hedgie can do for you. Ask what you can do for your hedgie. If you can see yourself doing that, then I believe you are in a good mindset for one of these amazing, fascinating little creatures. If not, then give yourself some time to think things over.

Keep calm and lower your expectations

Last edited by Echo of November; 08-20-2014 at 10:33 AM.
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