Nurse/Chef Hedgehog


It’s been a rough week for Alice, and therefore for me as well. There is a growth on her hind hock that we have struggled with for about six months. I won’t go into the gory details except to say we (being Alice, the Vet and I) thought we had it figured out until it stopped responding to steroids. It became hard and suspicious.

A simple “plug biopsy” was ordered and we saved up for the procedure. It didn’t go well, not at all as planned and she was a pretty unhappy individual for several days. This of course, meant my joy-meter was slightly askew. We spent several days going back and forth, twice a day to the Vet’s office. They were kind and no one mentioned extra fees, so we muddled our way through it. The lab results were the next hurdle so once she came out of a very drug induced haze, we set our sites on comfort and low impact activities. The expected two-stitch wound had morphed into six inches of ugliness, demanding lots of napping.  She didn’t eat for a day and all her hair started falling out. This was one sad roommate. I did what I could to keep her on warm, soft surfaces but jumping was off-limits;  her beloved trunk (throne) in the sunny bedroom window was off-limits.

Saturday, I was cleaning like a mad-woman, and I put the trunk back in front of the window. I hoisted her up and told her not get down. She looked at me with that “Not a chance!” face and settled in to watch over her kingdom. The corners of my mind wouldn’t calm because I knew a phone call was still to come telling us if all was right with the world.

Shar Pei skin, I am told, does not heal well. Scratch fighting dog from their possible careers. The tumor or whatever appeared to be attached to the bone, meaning loss of a leg at best. I have neither the resources nor the heart to contemplate that outcome. If it was malignant, the choice would be made for me.

I cleaned and put together dinner. The phone rang and the news was fabulous – not a tumor. Something rare that only Alice could dream up, but danger avoided. Hanni brought a new hedgehog to celebrate. It was designed to be a Chef but she carefully added red crosses to its apron and hat, transforming it to a nurse. In typical Alice form, she ignored and disdained it for the first twenty-four hours. As I was making dinner tonight, I heard a snort. The nurse/chef has an odd muffled speaker that sort of huffs when squeezed. Alice ran into the room and careened around the corner with it in her mouth. What a joyous sound!


24 thoughts on “Nurse/Chef Hedgehog

  1. whew! so glad to hear all is well! Hail Hanni, how creative of her! Nurse Hog to the rescue. Best word…..”careened” ….. speaks volumes!

  2. Hi Martha! I felt for you and Alice when I read your story, it must have been a hard time, she is such a huge part of your life and it’s hard when you know what their future is looking like but they don’t. I’m glad things have worked out and fingers crossed going forward. You will pleased to hear that a young female jockey has just won the Melbourne Cup for first time in 155 years – the whole of Australia stops to watch the $6m race and our state has the day off, it was the most amazing story and her brother (with Down syndrome) has been her strapper for 10 years and they are both the toast of the nation!

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