The Life & Death of a Hedgehog

Our dog Ellie lies beside her baby hedgehog dog toy in the backyard in February 2010

Don’t be fooled baby hedgehog, that’s no log you lie beside! Look at those sharp teeth! Chop chop!

Our dog Ellie lies on her back and prepares to grab her baby hedgehog dog toy while playing in the backyard in February 2010

Oh no! I can’t watch! Run, baby hedgehog, run!

Our dog Ellie lies on her back and holds her baby hedgehog in her mouth with the aid of her front paws while playing in the backyard in February 2010

Oh the hedgehogganity!

These pictures are from earlier in the year, Ellie remains on strict bed rest although her recovery is going well. She’s finished with the ice pack treatments, which she didn’t like but accepted well enough.

She remains on medication, after several unsuccessful attempts with other foods, we’ve settled on hotdogs as the preferred delivery mechanism. We tried various cheeses but she kept breaking apart the cheese and spitting out the pills. It’s a pretty impressive skill really and Ellie proved a quick study. The hotdogs, however, are so eagerly accepted that Templeton remains the undisputed master of pill befuddlery.

Post-op

Our dog Ellie recuperating from her ligament surgery

I’m happy to report that Ellie’s ligament surgery yesterday was successful and she was able to come home today. It takes a couple of months for the bones to fully heal so she has a long recuperation ahead, and it’s going to be hard keeping her on bed rest that long, but we’re looking forward to her being whole again. She gets medication for a few days to manage the intense pain of the early recovery period, as well as some other meds, and cold compresses to minimize swelling. She really doesn’t like the cold on her bare skin so I cradled her in my arms while my wife held the compress. I had to smile when eventually we heard the sounds of snoring.

Good to have you home, Ellie. Good to have you home.

Birdie

A side view of our cat Emma as she relaxed in a heated cat bed

One morning before work I stepped out of the shower and saw Emma sitting on the ledge next to the bathroom. She loves wet hair and I had a few moments before we needed to leave, so I leaned down and let her play in my hair. She purred and purred her quiet chirpy purrs and put me in a good mood to start the day.

Here the warm beds put her in a good mood to end the day.

The Prisoner

Our dog Ellie in her exercise pen to keep her from running and jumping before surgery for her injured leg

We picked up an exercise pen at a local pet store, which for Ellie will be an anti-exercise pen. It’s necessary to keep her off her legs as she’ll tolerate pain as long as it means she gets to play. Resisting her gaze I feel like a modern day Perseus, except Ellie is the anti-medusa, her sad puppy dog eyes will turn you to mush. She’s tolerated this all pretty well, and still has a ways to go, but oh how happy she will be when she is back on her feet.

Hedgehog Season is Canceled Until Further Notice

A close-up of the face of our dog Ellie in our backyard in February 2010

Ellie got X-rays on her legs today and we have a surgical consult scheduled in a couple of weeks. A lengthy recuperation period of no physical activity follows no matter the outcome, so hedgehogging is right out for a long while yet. And while she’s lost a lot of weight since we got her, she still needs to shed a few pounds, so her food is going to get cut back a bit more. My wife’s been sleeping in the basement with her to keep her company while I’m with the cats upstairs. For a dog that loves to eat and snuggle and hedgehog, that’s a tough pill to swallow.

The basement stairs are blocked off but somehow she slipped past our defenses this morning as I heard the familiar tappa-tappa-tappa of her claws on the hardwood. I gave her the “bed” command so she’d at least lie down in her bed and rest, but she jumped up into bed with me instead. I guess that’s on me for not specifying which bed. She snuggled up to me and Scout and Sam joined in and we all enjoyed the next hour until my alarm rang out and ruined the moment.

I feel so bad knowing how difficult the road ahead will be for her, so to make myself feel better I’ll post a picture from happier times.