Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Reggie Diaries: Handling

It's been a little stressful with my new pet hedgehog Reggie. I only got him on Saturday, but I've already questioned myself in buying him. I know I needed something to keep me from being so lonely, and he is certainly taking my mind off of home, but I'm not sure that it's any less stressful!

On Monday, I told Michelle about my fears: that Reggie was a biter by nature (very rare among hedgies) or was just very anti-social in general. I asked her to call EMart and ask if I could possibly exchange him for a younger one (Reggie is 3 months or so, but they have ones that are 2 months). I wasn't sure if I should be hopeful or not, but I figured it was worth a shot. She called in the evening, and spoke to the guy who sold Reggie to me. Apparently, the guy remembered me. (Well, I shouldn't be surprised, I'm probably the only white blonde girl he has sold a hedgehog to in a while.) He told her there is not really an exchange policy, but that if Reggie doesn't start to adjust in about a week, that he might be able to help me out (maybe exchange). Wow, that relieved some stress! He told Michelle that I should be sure to "handle" him so that he starts to get used to me. Apparently, Reggie really was a very friendly hedgie in the store!

Determined to start bonding with him (via handling: picking him up and letting him get used to me), I went to the dollar store here called Daiso and looked for gardening gloves. I decided that since I am so nervous to pick him up barehanded (thanks to those little puncture marks on my hand from our first encounter), maybe I could ease into it by using some gloves for a while.

I couldn't find the kind of gloves I was searching for, but I got some thinner ones. Once I got home, I decided that they are pretty thin and don't offer too much protection. I would keep looking for thick gloves, and go in incremental steps (thick gloves --> thin gloves --> barehanded). When I got home, he still seemed very scared and on edge. I decided to give him some peace for another day while I continued to look for the gloves.

Tuesday after work I went to HomePlus and while I couldn't find gardening gloves, I did buy some big thick snow gloves. I think these might be too big, but I went ahead since it's been long enough without him being held.

When I got home, I tried out the gloves. I was certainly more confident when I had them on, not being scared of being pricked or bitten. I read that, like other animals, hedgies can sense fear and anxiety. So, being nervous to pick him up probably transmits to his increasing nerves. With the gloves, I felt much better. He curled up but eventually got over his fear and uncurled. I slid my gloved hands around him from both sides (cupping him) and raised him out of the cage.

I was so happy!! I was so scared that we would never bond and he would be miserable and I would regret buying him. But, holding him there in my hands was progress, and that's all I can ask for at this point. I only held him for about 5 minutes. Erin was in the room (having accompanied me to HomePlus after work), so I asked her to grab the camera. When Reggie started to poop, I put him back in the cage. I figure that is my sign of "Okay, I've had a little too much excitement for right now."

After that, I was definitely on a high. I have hope! Maybe we will eventually get along and love each other. Well, I already love him. Especially after holding him even just the once. Its a really weird analogy but it makes me think of babies and new moms breastfeeding. Isn't it supposed to be like the ultimate bonding? Well, just holding my baby Reggie totally bonded me (I can't speak for him!) I think that returning him for a younger model is probably out of the question now.

At first I didn't think Reggie was biting the gloves, but this morning I picked him up again and I saw he did try to nibble the gloves. That dirty rat! I am trying the "blow in his face" method of punishment (more like negative-reinforcement). But, he didn't persist just seemed to try them out. I probably didn't touch them enough to get them to smell like me, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

After about 5 minutes (or maybe less), I put him back in the cage. I don't want to overwhelm him, but rather take it slow and have some patience with him. I am also learning that I have pretty high and unrealistic expectations of him. I am so used to dogs and their sense of companionship and Reggie will just never be like that with me. He might like me well enough, but I will never be his best friend. There's nothing like a dog ;) But, I am fond of the little Reg-meister and I think I'll keep him around.

Tonight when I got home (after a wonderful dinner of kal-magi-sa aka: Korean BBQ), I got him out of the cage again. It was probably for only about 5-6 minutes, but I let him roam around my chair which he seemed to prefer. I think the thick gloves are probably not very comfortable to hang out in. I hope to move on to the thinner gloves by next week. Maybe by then he won't be so twitchy and nervous when I go to pick him up.

This is definitely a learning process, and quite frankly, I am proud of myself. Although the first few days were very nerve-wracking, I am having patience and I'm not pushing him too far, too fast. I am learning! Hopefully, I will be a good mom to my little Reggie.

On another note: It snowed today!!!! It technically snowed Monday night (for about 5 minutes) but this afternoon when I went to work it was snowing pretty hard. We took a cab to work, and it took almost 20 minutes to go what should have been 5 max. There were several wrecks thanks to the weather (and crazy Korean drivers). BUT, the weather was so lovely and it really feels like winter now!!

I love the snow on my weather app!
The view from the front of my apartment hall. Wow!!
 It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Seoul. Sorry to all my Houston friends, I hear its about 80 degrees there today. Wow! Come visit me and I'll fix ya right up with some cold weather. Hehe!

1 comment:

  1. Awww, what a sweet story about your 'adventures' with Little Reg. Great name! You two will be quite fond of each other in a few more days - well maybe you, but I'm not up on hedgie habits nor their emotional states, but hey, he's company for you and that is fabuloso! LOVE the snow. I have Seoul's weather on my computer too, along with London, Paris and Madrid. You know, the Biggies. haha So, enjoy your experience - it will be easier 'as time goes by' (that's the name of a Brit comedy, but it could be an old one as out here in the boonies, we just take what we can get). Gotta love this place! DO love YOU. And, your blog is The Best. catcha next time...


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