One evening in 2002 as I sat in my conservatory, a small hedgehog wandered into my back garden. I went out and offered him some dog food. He ate ravenously before continuing on his way. The next morning I found him again. He was still in the garden; curled up but not hidden. I knew that was unusual and thought something was wrong. I picked him up and brought him under cover.
After ringing a number of local pet shops and vets, eventually I found a local hedgehog carer called Sue.
Sue told me that the hedgehog was an 'Autumn Juvenile'. He was born too late in the year and needed feeding up and over-wintering. He had to be kept warm in a cage, and with plenty of food. That way he would stay awake, and not hibernate before he had enough body-weight. I decided to give it a go.
I called "my" hedgehog Spike. He survived the winter and I released him back into the garden in the spring. I had a hedgehog house in the garden and put food out each night. For some time Spike kept returning to the garden at night.
Later Sue asked if I would like to try hand rearing some tiny orphaned babies. They needed regular two hourly feeds of special milk from a syringe.
Again I gave it a go...
Again the babies survived... and the rest is history!
I now have a purpose built Hedgehog Hosprickal in my garden and for as long as I could I self-funded my rescue operation. However as I now take in over 400 injured, sick and distressed hedgehogs every year I now have a small fundraising team and we attend fayres and other events to spread the word about our work and the plight of our precious native hedgehogs.