For those of you who follow along on my personal life through Instagram and Facebook, you probably know Nugget. Nugget is even on my about page and is the "Silent Partner" in my business. That image of her in the hat on the left even won me a photography award several years ago!
Devin and I got Nugget in 2012 about a year before we got married. She was more so Devin's pet, he picked her out and decided that he wanted a hedgehog, however, she was also one of the first pets that we got as a couple (besides a few fish). I had Dior for years before Devin and I even met so she became Devin's adopted cat.
I remember the day Devin told me he found a hedgehog couple who were about to have a litter and there was a spot open on their waiting list. We got on the list and ended up being able to get Nugget. We couldn't pick her up right away, she had to wean from her mom and make sure she was strong enough but they sent us photos of her during that time. When the time came that she was old enough to come live with us, we drove 5 hours to Michigan to pick her up. It was a crazy drive with tons of unpaved roads but it was worth it.
She quickly became a part of the family and we all loved her. Even Dior! Dior just wanted to love on Nugget but Nugget was always a bit reluctant about that but she would play with Dior's toys.
She had a lot of spunk and loved running around and exploring everything that she could. She would keep us up at night by running on her wheel and would always get grumpy if you tried to wake her up or stop her from running. She was perfect and we loved her!
Sadly, yesterday we had to say our goodbyes to this sweet girl. She was 6 years old which was quite old for a hedgehog. The average life span is only 3-5 years. Everyone at the hospital told us we were lucky to have had her for as long as we did. We knew the day was coming but we didn't expect that it would happen this soon.
We noticed that she lost some weight over the last month but just thought that was because she was getting older. She was still eating and running on her wheel and seemed to be fine. Just the night before I heard her running on her wheel as I went to sleep.
Devin went to clean her cage yesterday and found her with a bump on her little chin. She had some food stuck in her mouth but was still running around fine. We thought maybe she just hurt her tooth and had food stuck so we cleaned it out but noticed that her jaw just didn't look right. We promptly called and took her to the Purdue Exotic Animal Emergency Room to have her looked at. They confirmed our worst fear, that she had a tumor that was mouth cancer that's super common in hedgehogs. But it wasn't just that, she had the tumor for a little while but it progressed super fast and was internal which is why we never noticed it. Over the last day, the cancer ate right through the bottom side of her jaw bone.
We were heart broken. We did not want her to suffer from her jaw and there was nothing that they could do to help her except give her some pain medicine. They didn't expect that she would last a couple of days even with that and would still be in pain. We had to make the hard decision of saying goodbye. They brought her back in to us so we could hold her and tell her we loved her one last time.
Little Miss Nugget, you will be missed! We love you!