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Spiro Tate the Accidental Greek Pet

An Adventure in which a Trip to the Park Results in a Rescue.

It was Sunday and the Tates had successfully found and attended St. Andrew's ex-pat church (complete with a French bull dog puppy in attendance.) I thought that was adventure enough, but Merric had a brand-new-to-him BMX bike and was dying to ride it around.

If you've read my account of manifest destiny driving in Greece, you'll understand why I didn't think riding around the neighborhood was a good idea. So... we had to find an appropriate biking area. All I wanted to do was relax and read my book, so the idea of finding a park where we could picnic/read and Merric could zoom around popped up.

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After a quick internet search we located a park on the other side of town. On Sunday afternoons all of the shops and restaurants are closed and the streets are empty... perfect for two adults to scooter and one 10 year old to jump every curb possible on the way to the park. We arrived remarkably unscathed!

The guys wanted to sit at a picnic bench in the sunshine... but I was hot, and saw a lovely stream under a bridge. So, I set up a picnic area and cheese plate (if you know me at all, you know this is completely normal) on the pebbles by the stream and put my feet in to cool off. Merric has ridden a bike most of his life... but not really "off road." Needless to say he was having the time of his life zooming down hills and splashing through mud puddles.

Culin had just poured us a glass of wine when Merric started yelling. All I could picture was a broken arm and immediately realized that I didn't have our insurance card with us (or know where the hospital was.) Fortunately it was a good sort of yelling... a "Mom you have to come see this right now!"

The source of the elation? A hedgehog on the path. Merric thought it was a pine cone and then saw it move (and fortunately didn't accidentally run over it in the excitement.) I wish I had a video of me scrambling to find my shoes, climb over rocks, and hoofing it up the hill to see the hedgehog.

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It was the most perfect little hedgehog imaginable. Totally unafraid of us. In fact it sat there and looked at us until we picked it up. I looked at Culin and he (being the saint that he is) said "yes, you can keep it." *Please note that the hedgehog was very dehydrated and it was a million degrees. He needed a rescue.

We zipped home with our small friend in tow and gave him water, a cherry, and our hearts. He drank, and drank, and drank. Poor thing... and then devoured the cherry. Culin volunteered his printer box as a temporary home, I lined it in paper towels and used a basket to make a little hideout for the hedgehog.

While this was going on, our hedgehog was happily sniffing and climbing on Merric's foot. Internet research helped us understand that hedgehogs love stinky things... hence Merric's sweat soaked socks being heavenly. With this bit of knowledge we added a sock to the habitat and tucked the little guy in for a nap.

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Monday morning we were at the pet store bright and early. 130 Euros later we had a fabulous hedgehog house, food dish, water bowl, bedding, etc. Our friend who works at the pet store (which we've visited several times to see the baby hamsters and store cat) asked where we got the hedgehog. I told him, and he said he's been to that park thousands of time and has never even seen a hedgehog there. I calmly replied that I believed God gave us this hedgehog*. After a moment of silence the shop keeper agreed that had to be the case.

Then came the fun of how to transport a 3 foot by 2 foot hedgehog palace plus everything else on electric scooters. We turned in our rental car over a week ago and can't purchase a car until we get our residency permit blue papers... so we scooter everywhere. Common sense prevailed and I threw my scooter in a cab and took the hedgehog home back to our flat.

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*I'm really good at creating "snow globes" of how an experience will go... down to small details. When I created my mental "living Greece snow globe" a hedgehog named Spiro was absolutely part of it. Culin knew... and apparently God did too.

So what's it like having a Greek hedgehog? Absolutely amazing. He's a sleepy little being... but wakes up when I make breakfast (mainly because he adores scrambled eggs,) and after dinner where he visits on the couch and our desk. He will crawl up into your lap, snuggle up and fall asleep. So precious (if a tad pokey!)

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Best Parts:

Having an adorable little creature that sleeps on my lap while I read late at night and meanders around like an off kilter tank.

The smacking eating noises he makes and his weird little feet (rediculously cute.)


Spiro loves stinky socks, scrambled eggs, grain-free cat food, chicken, and burrowing in towels or yes... sticky socks.

Spiro hates surprises... he snorts and puffs up his quills... he also hates watermelon and the meal worms we bought him, which he was supposed to devour. Personally, I'm completely fine with a cat food loving, bug hating pokey pet.

What's next:

Hedgehog proofing our patio and adding a low garden area so Spiro can explore and burrow. Oh, and a trip to Rome and Naples!