Monday, December 6, 2010

About Puck

This is the story of Puck. Puck the hedgehog, my little baby.

I just laid him to rest last night. He was my little guy for a very short two and a half years, but he made such a big impact on my life that I'll never forget him.

In the summer of 2008, I was ready to get a new pet. I was still feeling the loss of my iguana, Lantz (and I still do to this day), but I had healed enough to allow a new little friend into my life. Browsing craigslist one day, I spotted an ad that grabbed my attention. Someone was rehoming an adorable little hedgehog! I saw the photos of him and immediately fell in love. These are the original photos that were posted:

So cute!

When I saw the ad, I started researching everything involved in hedgehog care. After learning what I needed, I thought it over for a bit, and then I decided that he would be a great pet for me! I contacted his owner, and then the little dude was mine!

He was two months old when I got him, so he was still pretty small. His original owner had named him "Dexter", but I wanted something different. It took me forever to settle on a name for him! I asked my friends to help me come up with one, but nothing was appealing to me. I'm not sure what made me think of it, but I started calling him "Puck" as a placeholder name. As time went on, I got so attached to that name that it remained as his permanent one.

Most people hear his name and assume he was named after a hockey puck or something, but I was thinking more along the lines of the character Puck from English folklore. He is primarily known as a shape shifting imp creature who is very mischievous.  The character is most well known from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. I felt that the name was appropriate because my Puck would do some things that revealed a bit of a mischievous nature in him. I often called him Puckie, too.

In the beginning, I tried holding Puck a lot in order to calm him down and get him used to human interaction. As much as I tried, though, it never made much of a difference. He wasn't really a people-hedgehog. He would calm down and be quiet if I was holding him, but if he was in his cage or walking around somewhere, he was always extremely nervous. The smallest little noises and movements would make him curl up into a ball and do his trademark huffing/hissing sound. Oh, what I would give to hear that sound now.

He always made the funniest noises. They're probably the most unforgettable thing about him. His huffy/hissy sound that he did from breathing heavily any time he was startled was the most prominent, of course. I would hear that sound in response to nearly anything I did in my room, whether it was turning on the lamp, opening the closet door, rustling through bags and boxes, or whatever else. I found it so funny that he felt the need to continue doing that after being in my room for so long. Surely he was used to it all by then! Silly little dude. My friends and family were always amused by that sound as well. 

He also made so many adorable sounds while he was sleeping. Since he spent the majority of each day asleep, he served as a constant soundtrack for my room. The cutest of all were his little chirps and squeaks. They always made me smile. I wish I had recorded them. He would also often thump his foot against the bottom of his cage, which I found funny.

Puck spent the majority of his time hidden under little towels. Since he didn't really like human interaction, he pretty much only came out on his own to eat and drink. Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so I would feed him each night before I went to bed. For the last two and a half years, I've fallen asleep to the sound of him crunching his food every night. It's hard to get used to not hearing it anymore.

One of the problems I struggled with throughout his life was his weight. I fear this is one of the reasons why he passed so young. He gained weight so quickly without me even realizing until he was quite big, and so I spent the last two years trying so hard to get him down to a more healthy size. It was difficult, because he never wanted to do anything but stay curled up all day, and he wouldn't eat anything except his dry cat food. I believe he had dropped his weight down a bit in the last few months, but it ended up not making a difference in the end. I even built him a huge multi-level cage several months ago in order for him to get more exercise. Here's the cage:

It took him a little time to get used to using the ramp, but he seemed to enjoy his new cage! 

One thing I loved to do was bring him outside and have him walk around in the grass. I doubt that he enjoyed it very much, since he always just wanted to be bundled up under his towel, but it was good for him to get some exercise and fresh air. Whenever I did that, people would always come up and ask tons of questions about him. They were so fascinated to see such an unusual creature walking around like that. 

I also enjoyed giving him baths, and it was so fun watching him swim around in the bathtub. He used to be terrified when I'd wash him in the sink, but he got used to it over time, and he eventually wouldn't freak out at all when I scrubbed his quills nice and clean with a toothbrush and some baby shampoo. I loved snuggling him in a towel after he was all clean from his bath.

Despite what a nervous little guy he was, he was actually very easy to travel with. Whenever I went on a trip, I would put his travel bin in the back seat of my car, and he was always very well behaved while on the road. If I had to make a stop somewhere, I'd bring him inside with me in his travel bag. The next road trip I take is going to feel very strange and empty without bringing him along.

I always wished that Puckie and I could have bonded better. I wanted so badly for him to get used to people, so that he could be touched and handled without always getting so scared of everything. Despite the way he was, though, I loved having him around, and he brought so much joy to my life.

For the last couple nights, Puck hadn't been eating his food. This had happened a few times in the past, and he was always okay afterwards, so I didn't think anything was seriously wrong, since he wasn't showing any other symptoms. However, on Saturday, he was breathing heavily all day. I was very concerned, and I was planning to make a vet appointment as soon as possible. It was too late, though. When I got home from work that night, he was gone.

The following day, my dear friend Noah helped me look for a nice place to bury my Puckie. We found a beautiful little spot between some trees, and on Sunday evening, December 5th, 2010, Puck was laid in his final resting place. I plan to visit him often. He left a few of his quills behind, and I am keeping them as a memento.

Goodbye, Puck. I don't know what the reason for your passing was, but I'm so sorry that I wasn't able to prevent it. I wish I had taken better care of you, so you hadn't left us at such a tender, young age. I wish that we could have had more time together in this life. I know that you're now the happiest you've ever been, and I look forward to seeing you again, my little sweetie. I love you so much, and I miss you already.

Puck the Hedgehog
May 20th, 2008 - December 4th, 2010


  1. That was a nice story. Those are really cute pictures of him.

  2. So adorable! I've recently been interested in owning one but it's not legal in my state. >.> Puck was in a very loving home, at least you know that.

  3. I believe that as long as you remember someone in your heart their souls will never die

  4. One great thing to admire in a person is ones love of pets. So many people are quick to dismiss them as just pets, but they can be closer and easier to talk to than most humans. I lost my puppy Scooby almost 6 years ago, but I still remember my adorable, if a bit dim puppy dog. I have a photo of me holding him a month after he was born. He would always have an adorably goofy grin on his face and no matter what, when you saw that goofy grin you couldn't help but giggle.

    He also passed because of weight, but he was happy and goofy to the very end. Just remember, while Puck might have joined Lantz on another plane, they will always be with you. Those you love are only truly dead once you forget about them. I will never forget Scooby, and I can tell you will never forget that adorable, yet shy, little hedgehog named Puck.

  5. Hedgehogs? I'm quite amazed that they are adoptable as pets. Do their quills not hurt a little when you hold them?
    My last pet was named Puggle, which was the name for baby echidna. The dog seems to enjoy rolling around quite a bit, and since my family was not too creative with names, we left it at Puggle.

  6. Gotta say, Puck was a great name. RIP Puck!


  7. that was a lovely story im really sorry for your loss, i dont know if this will help but sad as his passing is at least for the little time he had you gave him the best and im sure he was happy right until the end :)

  8. That's a sad stoyry, I hope he's in a better place now.

    By the way, would I happen to be your dear friend? My name is Noah

  9. It's so hard to lose a pet, whether they die, you find their original owner (that was what happened to my dog Lucky after about 2 or 3 weeks), or you can't take care of them anymore (my mom had allergies, so we had to give my cat to my uncle scott who gave Buddy to his mother. actually, i havnt heard anything from him in ages... i wonder if it was just a cover up to keep me from knowing he was dead or something. (i was about 8 at the time)). RIP.

  10. R.I.P. Puck

    Such a wonderful description you gave us Jonna.
    Puck must have been an amazing pet to have.

  11. i know how you feel i had a little mouse called Jerry(After Jerry in Tom and Jerry since i love that show)i took care of him when i found him hurt on the sidewalk to my house.Since then i took care for two years until his passing.His death was complete natural the vet said that he died of old age.I miss him everyday and not one moment went by without me thinking about him R.I.P Puck and Jerry

  12. thats so sad *sob* well least he died in happy love home