~ Sarah and Fin ~
Over five years ago, Sarah welcomed African Pygmy Hedgehog, Fin, into her life. Since then, they are now fostering a baby hedgie named Robin.
In 2017, as a university student, Sarah was looking to adopt a furry friend. Once she heard of the possibility of having hedgehogs as pets, she spent months doing as much research as she could. Sarah still had a lot to learn when she met Fin and felt unprepared. She fell in love with him as soon as they met and knew he was the one, but he was a bit huffier and spikier than she had anticipated.
Due to this, Sarah decided that, with the help of Fin, she would start an Instagram account to educate others about owning hedgehogs. She wanted to create a page that could help others like her know everything about pet hedgies. To further her knowledge, Sarah has also started studying zoology in her free time as well as her majoring in anthropology. Through Hedge Chef, she hopes to empower hedgehog owners and provide them with all the knowledge she has learnt through her journey. Of course, Fin supervises and has final approval of all posts, too.
For some time, Sarah has struggled with PTSD which impacts her daily. Having Fin has been life-changing for her. He provides her with a purpose each day, grounds her, and is a source of comfort and love. As hedgies can be a bit anxious at times, Sarah and Fin keep each other present through co-regulating; the process of simultaneously helping regulate each other’s nervous system.
Having Fin has also taught Sarah a lot. It can take a while to build a bond with and the trust of a hedgehog. The day-to-day life of having a hedgie might not be all glamorous, but Sarah wouldn’t change it for the world. While treating Fin with kindness, patience and compassion, she was able to find it in herself to turn this inwards and treat herself the same way.
Together, Sarah and Fin have helped each other through thick and thin. One particular moment sticks out to Sarah. She was experiencing a very bad panic attack and, to help ground herself, picked Fin up and held him close. Expecting him to want to get up and explore after a few seconds, she was surprised when he decided to curl up on her chest and stay there for over ten minutes. Sarah patted him and as she calmed down and looked into Fin’s eyes, she realised just how much love they shared for one another.
At the start of 2021, Fin was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and was given between three and six months to live. However, it’s been almost a year since and he continues to fight and live life to the fullest. This drive inspires Sarah every single day. Not only that, but Fin inspires the community that he and his human have created. To everyone who follows his journey, he represents unconditional love and strength.
When not advocating, Sarah and Fin enjoy simply spending time with each other. From having Fin curl up inside Sarah’s scarf as she does chores to spending every evening watching a movie and eating snacks together. These moments are always the highlight of both their day.
Recently, Sarah and Fin have welcomed a new family member – Robin! Robin, another African Pygmy Hedgehog, was initially only a foster. However, Sarah fell in love with her and knew that Robin had found her forever home.
The bond that Sarah and Fin share is truly special. Each day is made better simply because they have one another. They have truly changed each other’s lives for the better by sharing joy and unconditional love.
*After the time of writing, Fin has sadly passed on. He has had an immeasurable impact on Sarah by bringing endless amounts of love and joy into her life. His impact on the wider community will continue to be felt as his memory lives on. Fin lived a full life thanks to Sarah. Every day of his life was full of love, care and happiness