So after a few restless nights and a couple of hours of tossing and turning, I finally passed out late last night and was looking forward to sleeping in today…
You already know how this goes, don’t you?
Yep. Lily decided that a pre-dawn raid on the garden was crucial to today’s strategy, jumping up on the bed and prying my sleeping form up out of my warm little hollow with her muzzle. She punctuated these attempts with yips and grumblings, clearly translatable as lectures about seizing the day, early birds, my being a lazy bum and something about vagrant cats getting a head start.
Well. She’s nothing if not pushy, our Lily. So I hauled myself up and out of bed, staggered downstairs, let her out to do the needful and came to terms with the morning having started earlier than planned. May as well make the most of it, eh? So I got to the washing up, putting in the laundry, swept the living room etc., got to my desk, started organising the day’s workload…..and after a while I realised that though Lily had come back in, she’d been conspicuously undemanding – in fact, I hadn’t heard a peep out of her for over an hour.
So I went to look for her – she was not anywhere downstairs or outside…and then it dawned on me (the words that accompanied this dawning I will not sully my little blog with) and I marched upstairs and sure enough, madam was curled up in my bed, fast asleep.
Sometimes the man of the house can be really thoughtful. He suggested that we plant a tree over our little friend’s grave to commemorate his short life. And so it was done. We decided to go for an apple tree, which will doubtless feed the birds as well as other tiny creatures, and we also got some lovely bulbs that will come out staggered over the spring months, helping the bees at their business – a little salute to British wildlife. And it is here that we lay down our little friend, and hope that we are fortunate enough to meet many more as life goes on.
Wildlife folks contacted us and said it was unlikely that at 4oz and in his current condition, the little hoglet would make it. And indeed, in the early hours of this morning, the little guy breathed his last. I really hoped he would make it and am heartbroken at the loss of this tiny life that has left a huge vacancy in the house and in our hearts. Rest in peace little dude, I hope that the last couple of days of your too short life were comfortable ones.
Care centres and rescues around the country are dealing with hundreds of these little Autumn orphans. Many are underfunded and understaffed, some operate out of tiny rooms and little sheds, and many carers pay for their treatment and care out of their own pockets. I have been overwhelmed by the time and effort people around the UK put in to help these little creatures and other native wildlife and I am humbled by the way they reached out to this tiny creature in my care, calling and messaging and making themselves available at all hours. In particular, I’d like to thank Bob Fleming from the Cardiff Hedgehog Rescue for his non-stop assistance and Jackie Burke at Leighton Buzzard Hedgehog Rehabilitation for her advice and encouragement.
If you are able, I would ask that you donate what you can manage to the BHPS, one of the individuals mentioned above or contact one of your local carers to find out how you can help or donate towards their costs. It doesn’t take much – just £5 can feed 20 hedgehogs a day.
Please consider a donation to these causes. They make a big difference to these delightful little endangered creatures.