Today’s National Pet Day, and in honor of pets everywhere, I’d like to introduce—or reintroduce to those who follow my Instagram—Lizzy the hedgehog. She’s my child/pet, moody and huffy if you wake her up, much like a teenager. She’s affectionate and sweet (to me at least—she’s pretty much a one-human hedgehog, and I’m that human), curious and shy. She, strangely, is not a big fan of any food that’s not her regular hard cat food (and grapes and oranges, both of which she’s not allowed to have because one’s poisonous to hedgehogs and the other is too acidic for their mouths). Worms, which she can have, she’d rather not.
Last year she had an infected salivary gland, which took two doses of antibiotics to clear up (the first wasn’t strong enough). The whole thing caused me huge amounts of stress. I think Lizzy’s partially my emotional support animal. I wanted a dog; I’m glad I got a hedgehog. She’s super low-key and easy to take care of as long as she’s in a warm environment. And nighttime cuddles are the best (seriously; you should try it).
Lizzy is one in a line of pets that I’ve been fortunate to have over the years. I had a hamster, two mice, a rabbit, a cow (at least I thought she was my pet when I was 6: her name was Valentine and she was beautiful), two dogs, and a handful of cats.
Buck and Cara were my childhood dogs. They were brother and sister. Cara lived up until around 2005, she was probably around 15 years old when she died. She was the prettiest, sweetest dog…I miss her.
Shadow is my sister’s cat, actually, and he’s been around for about 13 years. He lived in Colorado until my parents moved, and then he moved as well. Cats aren’t fans of moving, but he’s doing well now in Utah, even if he is an old man in cat years with achy hips.
Pets are something special, a way for humans and animals to meet in harmony. I understand the emotional comfort they give, the unequaled loyalty and adoration. So when people say that their pet is part of their family, don’t roll your eyes too much. There’s a special bond there. Pets can lift burdens and inspire happiness. They’ve always brought me happiness, happiness that far outweighs any sorrow.