Video: Rescue dog and tiny hedgehog melt Instagram’s hearts with their unlikely friendship

  • Mon,30 Sep 2019 07:51:07 AM

There is nothing prickly about the friendship between these two rescued pals – despite predictions that the stray dog was too anxious to befriend other animals and the nervous disposition of the hedgehog.

Now taking Instagram – where they have thousands of followers – by storm, they were brought together by physiotherapy assistant Victoria Wright, 28, who first adopted Welsh terrier mix pooch Rosie from a local shelter in April 2014, followed by African pygmy hedgehog, Olive, in July this year.

The unlikely mates are now inseparable, playing and snuggling up together at her house in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, where their touching friendship has even helped Victoria to address her own problems with anxiety, which had become so bad she was afraid to leave the house.

 

Totally smitten with the adorable pair, she said: “Rosie had a really tough beginning. She was found as a stray in a bad way. She had barely any fur on her ears and scarring on her nose.

“She was in the shelter for months before I found her. Hearing that gutted me – it was heartbreaking to feel like nobody wanted her.

“But when I saw her, I loved her right away. Her and Olive are great with each other, too. Olive may be tiny, but she rules the roost.”

Rosie when Victoria first adopted her (PA Real Life/Collect)

After bringing Rosie, who had been languishing in a rescue centre for around five months, home in April 2014, Victoria started slowly encouraging her to come out of her shell.

And while she is still an anxious dog who hates loud and sudden noises, she has far surpassed the expectations of professionals, who warned that her disposition was so nervous she may never be able to mix with other dogs.

Victoria, who has paid for £2,000 worth of veterinary treatment for her beloved pooch, which included hydrotherapy, said: “They told me initially that we may never be able to let Rosie off her lead, as she wouldn’t be good with other dogs.”

Victoria with Rosie the day she went to meet her (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added: “The first time I took her for a proper walk was such a big thing. She is still very nervous, but is so friendly and absolutely loves playing.

“When she sees her dog friends, she gets absolutely ecstatic.”

A lifelong fan of hedgehogs, in time, Victoria decided one would make the perfect pet to add to her little family.

Olive (PA Real Life/@olive_the_hedgehog_)

She added: “I found one up for adoption locally, as the owner could no longer take care of it. I’ve always loved hedgehogs so I jumped at the chance.

“I was a little bit worried about how Rosie would be around my new addition, but I figured that I could keep them apart if needed, especially as the hedgehog would mainly be living in its own little house.”

So, in July this year, Victoria brought little Olive, who is two, home with her.

Olive and Rosie meeting for the first time (PA Real Life/@olive_the_hedgehog_)

Recalling the animals’ first meeting, she said: “Rosie, who is about seven now, was very inquisitive, but Olive was really shy.

“She would ball herself up a lot, and huffle, where they puff their spikes up, which is a sign that they think they’re in danger and so get defensive.

“It took a good four weeks for her to get used to everyone. There were times when I thought, ‘Have I done the wrong thing?’ But I persevered.”

 
 
 
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Can’t a hedgehog get a little privacy round here? ???? – ??SWIPE?? #SplishSplashIWasTakingABath

A post shared by Olive the Hedgehog ?? (@olive_the_hedgehog_) on

Now, while Rosie is still spooked when Olive rolls up into a ball, they are best friends – cuddling up and enjoying naps together and even sharing food.

Victoria laughed: “Olive is the fussiest eater. She doesn’t eat any live food like mealworms or bugs, which are the mainstay of most hedgehogs’ diets.

“Instead she likes dried mealworms and cat biscuits – which Rosie is always pinching.”

Olive and Rosie cuddling (PA Real Life/@olive_the_hedgehog_)

While she is perfectly happy to play and snuggle up  with Rosie, Olive also has a space of her own – a little hedgehog house, handmade from upcycled wood by a family member.

Kitted out with its own security camera,  which records the hog’s activities, Victoria delights in rewinding and watching what Olive has been up to at night.

She explained: “Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so while we’re sleeping, she’s playing away. She loves running through her tunnel or on her exercise wheel, and foraging for food too.”

Olive (PA Real Life/@olive_the_hedgehog_)

One of the most important aspects of Olive’s care, according to Victoria, is making sure she is kept warm, as she would be in her native land.

A self-taught seamstress, she has made several special little pouches – perfect for burrowing into – and also uses heat pads to keep her hog’s temperature up.

By sewing handles into them, she can carry the pouches on the move, meaning Olive, who is small enough to fit in Victoria’s hand,  accompanies her virtually everywhere she goes.

Victoria and Olive (PA Real Life/Collect)

Touchingly, this has helped hugely with Victoria’s anxiety, which she has battled for years.

She explained: “I take Olive everywhere I go. I stay over with family quite a lot, and she’ll come for a little sleepover.

“I either carry her in one of her special pouches, or she can sit on a heatpad in my bag.”

Olive (PA Real Life/@olive_the_hedgehog_)

“Having her has helped me so much. I struggled for years with anxiety, to the point where I was afraid to even go out by myself.

“Last year, I finally accepted I needed help, and have had medication and talking therapy – but nothing has helped quite like Olive.

“She’s like a therapy pet. And Rosie, too – she is great at picking up when I’m feeling down. She’s so gentle and always comes over for cuddles.”

 
 
 
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When I grow up, I wanna be a mermaid! ??????????‍??

A post shared by Olive the Hedgehog ?? (@olive_the_hedgehog_) on

Ignorant strangers have criticised Victoria for keeping a hedgehog, saying Olive is “disgusting” and “full of disease,”  but she insists that her beloved hog  makes the perfect animal companion – both for her, and for Rosie.

Now, she has even set up an Instagram, where she delights her thousands of followers with enchanting snaps and videos of Rosie and Olive – who are never left alone unsupervised together – in action.

She concluded: “I never expected people to like the pictures as much as they do. I’ve met some really lovely people through the Instagram, though, and Olive and Rosie are good as gold having their pictures taken.”

Olive (PA Real Life/@olive_the_hedgehog_)

“They have very similar temperaments really. They’re both gentle, chilled and happy to be handled and cuddled,” she added.

“They are unlikely friends, but they love each other to bits.”

Follow Victoria’s Instagram @olive_the_hedgehog_

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Title : Video: Rescue dog and tiny hedgehog melt Instagram’s hearts with their unlikely friendship

 
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