Our story, well, this part of our story, started with a lot of despair, brokenness and darkness and the entrance of one little hedgehog.
In May 2015, I felt my heart crush in my chest through a very unexpected family situation. My husband was at a loss of how to help me at all. He watched me as I began to sink into a deep, dark state of mind, no longer acting like myself with growing bitterness and cynicism. In this same season, Forrest was a lost little hedgehog, untamed and seemingly unloved. She was on her second home and was being offered for sale once again at only 14 weeks old. It was as though God allowed me to find her. I felt like He knew we both were hurting, afraid and very much in need of each other.
Forrest had no reason to trust us because people had passed her around and had not allowed her to develop attachments. Similarly, I had lost trust in other people. I had been deeply wounded by a family member by an experience that awakened painful memories from the past. With support, I actually learned that I was having not just responding to the incident, but that I was experiencing traumatic responses with flashbacks and nightmares. Somehow, this little spiny mammal and I bonded quickly and strongly. When she looked up at me with those tiny dark eyes and ever curious nose, it was as though she understood me out of her own sense of rejection.
Both of us began to heal and in just a matter of weeks, we were inseparable. I took Forrest to the store, to appointments, well, everywhere I went when allowed, she was there for the ride. She became the center of attention in many places, even helping a young child overcome his fear of small animals. I began to regain confidence and hope as I watched God work through His creation to help others.
The more I grew to love Forrest and her personality began to be more evident, the more excited I and my family became about having her in our home. We jokingly created an Instagram page specifically for Forrest. It did not take long for people to catch on and begin following Forrest and her antics. Soon we found out that there are many hedgehogs that are in need of help. One hedgie, named Luna, needed surgery and the owner was a young teenager who could not afford to pay for the much needed surgery on his young hedgehog. He put together a GoFundMe page and in 3 days, he had the $500 needed to remove a cyst that was impeding her ability to walk. Luna lived a very happy and loving year after her surgery and still has a Instagram page to remember her.
It was from Luna’s story that I realized that I could be a part of helping other hedgies that may be in need of homes and of healthcare; especially considering how our hedgie had helped our family through so much. And it was these experiences that led to the birth of Life-on-the-Hedge; a business about hedgehogs, for the benefit of hedgehogs and for the glory of God. Our first venture was to sell T-shirts. We had tried to start a T-shirt business years before with no success, so we had the equipment.
My husband and I came up with the design for the logo and our daughter drew the design. The logo has a hedgehog in the middle of two rings, the rings represent the hedgehog’s wheel, which is their life. Without a wheel, the hedgehog would be lost, running around its cage unsure where to go; not unlike how lost I felt only a few months before. The logo has two crosses. The crosses represent regained hope in Christ that I found as I journeyed through loss and grief. I had lost all hope and faith in the Lord, and definitely in humanity. I no longer wanted to go to church or sing, but my husband has always said no that matter how bad things may get, the Lord has a plan. I did not believe him until Forrest came around and put the wheel back into my life. I was able to go back to church and make it through the day.
Later, we started checking into hedgehog themed apparel and realized that there were lots of animal logos but no hedgehogs. After a few weeks, we had a hand drawn logo and a trademark on it. We give 10% to the church trying to start the business off right, then 10% goes to hedgehog rescue, here and overseas. The rescue in the UK is named the national exotic hedgehog rescue and the one in the USA is the Hedgehog Welfare Society. Our hope is to get our own line of clothing with our hedgehog logo and be able to help hedgies all over.
More than anything, I want to give God the glory for helping me come out of the forest with a precious little hedgehog named Forrest.