Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Fretful Porpentine

Only she isn't fretful.

And she isn't a porpentine (porcupine).

My little animal broker (
Eler Beth) found me a hedgehog last night, and this morning we picked her up.

Why a hedgehog? And why me?
I've wanted a pet hedgehog for a few years now, ever since I real
ized they were kept as pets. I didn't say anything to anyone until maybe a year ago, and then it was only as an aside, like, "If I ever had a small animal for myself, I'd like a hedgehog." I just think they're so cute!

Well, since Copper died, I've been seriously thinking about getting one. I guess I kind of miss a little face (a mammal face, that is; there are still little bird and gecko faces in the house) looking up at me and asking for attention or food. But I didn't say anything because I knew that as soon as I did Eler Beth would find me one, and then I'd get attached to the idea and not be able to back down.

Well, a few days ago I decided that I for sure wanted one. So I emboldened myself to ask Thomas if he'd mind if I got a hedgehog, and, like the wonderful, loving, and caring husband he is, he said, "Go for it!"

Eler Beth promptly got on Cra
igslist and found me one. That one was almost two years old, and before I could get it they had sold it. So she expanded her search to cities a bit further away, and we found this little girl. She's only 10 weeks old which is really more like what I wanted anyway. A young one is easier to train and bond with.

A Name?
I had said a long time ago that if I ever did get a hedgehog I would name a male Shakespeare, with Hamlet as a backup possibility. But don't you think Shakespeare would be a cute name for a hedgehog?

Of course, this is a female, so I had to come up with some other possibilities. I like Portia, from "Merchant of Venice", but then people would think I was saying "Por
she", and I wouldn't like that. And most people wouldn't get the reference. I also thought Ophelia would be a pretty name for a female, although Ophelia is not a favorite character of mine.

I really liked the idea of naming a female "Hero" from "Much Ado About Nothing", a favorite. This would have the added benefit of also being from a favorite book (Friday's Child) of my
favorite author (Georgette Heyer). But again, there would be few who would know either reference, and most people would think Hero would be a boy.

Then I thought I could call her Georgette (for Heyer), Georgie, for short. That would be cute. And with her seemingly independent nature, she would make a good "Grand Soph
ie" from the eponymous title also by Georgette Heyer. She kind of looks like a Sophie, and the literary Sophie was a very take-charge kind of gal.

So the name hasn't been decided
yet. Eler Beth advised me with a straight face that I should consider it very seriously and not just pick the first thing that came to me. I believe she was remembering some similar advice I'd given to her many years ago when she first embarked on her zoological life.

The Hedgie
I drove two hours away to get her. The lady had bought her when she was five weeks old, and then realized that she didn't have the time to spend with her properly to bond with her early. She is going to school for -- get this! -- vet tech (what Eler Beth will probably eventually do)! When we got there she told us that when you first go to get her out of her cage, she'll hiss at you, but then once you have her out she's okay. Well, she was curled up asleep in her igloo, the woman picked up her igloo and we just stood there for a minute talking to her. Then I was pleased to see that she unrolled a bit, stuck her face out and sniffed us curiously. I figured that was a good sign.

She is getting used to us, and so far so good. We'll keep you updated on how she's doing and what name we finally decide on.

Hedgies are prickly, but, unlike porcupines, their spines (quills) aren't barbed, don't contain poison, and they don't shoot them. She's losing her baby spines right now; in the process of getting her "big girl quills!"

"But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood."

The Ghost to Hamlet, from Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 5, William Shakespeare


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

A very unique pet, looking forward to the name and more info. No real ideas on the name since I am not very familiar with Shakespeare.

Paula said...

Awww such a cute little pet. I agree with Eler Beth about naming a pet. It is very serious and needs careful thought.

Barbara said...

Unusual, but just so long as you are happy with her.

Gerry said...

What an interesting pet to acquire or you have made it very interesting and I am looking forward to hearing about her life in your household. I am sure such an adventuresome spirit on your part is an inspiration to your children. I know my life with the animals on the ranch was always so interesting I thought. My dad was always urging us to take care of some animal that had lost its mother or needed help some way, including dogey calves, runt pigs. The neighboring rancher let his son raise baby coyotes whose mother had been killed and deer. I made it a point to get acquainted with as many of my grandfather's horses, cows, dogs, cats, as I could as well as our own. Animals were my great pleasure when I was growing up.