5 years ago, my mom adopted a precious little hedgehog named Luna. Luna became a library pet, and was much cuddled and fussed over. Most hedgehogs are a bit, well, prickly. Not Luna, though! Despite the spiky exterior, she was the very soul of mellowness as hundreds of children would gently stroke and admire her.
Sadly, a couple of weeks ago, my mother noticed a growth on her mouth. It was diagnosed as mouth cancer, and Luna was put to sleep a week ago. She had become unable to eat or drink, and we did not want the sweet creature to suffer. It was very sad, but truly necessary.
Later that day, my mom dug a hole in the backyard, and gently removed the small hedgehog from the cage where she had been lying in wake. Luna was still wrapped in her fleece blanket, in the customary hedgehog-ball. When Mom lifted her up, she peered inside.
That was when I got involved. She came into the kitchen with a horrified expression on her face, pro-offering the bundle of hedgehog. "Is... is she still breathing?" she asked.
The pit dropped out of my stomach, but not because I thought that was likely. I was sure that Mom must be seeing things, or that her hands were trembling and giving the hedgehog the appearance of life. Feeling slightly anxious, I gazed in at the small creature... the small, breathing creature. Cupping her in my hands, I stared at my mom, and then back at the hedgehog. Yep, she was still alive.
We returned her to her cage, cozy under her heat lamp. Surely, we reasoned, she must be comatose. She cannot possibly be in any pain. No doubt she will peacefully slip from this life to the next.
She spent the weekend under her heat lamp, asleep, unconscious, or simply too miserable to move. I guess we will never know, but by Monday she was, well...
She was up and about. She was eating. She was drinking.
I guess Spring really IS all about rebirth and new life, huh?