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Murray attended a gathering in honor of our friend Jennifer's brave girl Norma, who has degenerative myelopathy, also called Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS).  Murray dug into her snack with typical gusto, as well as the salmon left for Jennifer's other girl Skeezix.  Skeezix (right, under hat) was certainly intrigued by the stranger who kept eating her food!

Murray meets snowman 1 26 00.jpg (58507 bytes)Heather built a little snowman with the dusting of snow that we received one winter and Murray got to meet him, although she was not as enthusiastic about the experience as we were.  She had a very brief foray into the strange winter wonderland and then returned to her nice, warm pet corral and began tubing.

Murray eating shrimp.jpg (20453 bytes)Murray's diet was usually fairly consistent -- Zoo Fare and SnackTime treats from Pawprint Online supplemented by cooked chicken, veggies, and fruit.  However, we discovered that she really, really liked shrimp.  It took her a long time to eat one, though, so we were able to get a few photos of her enthusiastic consumption of said shrimp.

Chopper holds Murray in bag at First Night.jpg (57562 bytes)Charleston has a wonderful New Year's Celebration called First Night, which is celebrated in many other cities across the U.S.  We decided that we would take Murray to enjoy a little outdoor culture, which included a parade, an origami artist, and even a hot air balloon ride (although it was tethered and only went up about forty feet).  We suspect -- but cannot confirm -- that Murray may be the first hedgehog to ride in a hot air balloon.   She was unbothered by the fireworks and cannon fire at the opening ceremonies, although the same cannot be said about the two of us. 

Murray stares down camera take two.jpg (56296 bytes)Murray returned to Huntsville, Alabama for a nice, relaxing Christmas holiday with Heather's family.  We received a digital camera as one of our very coolest presents, and Murray was good enough to pose for a few shots, ham that she is.  She also terrorized the family dog, a formerly fearless fox terrier named Bud.  Unfortunately, we were unable to capture this on film -- Bud retreated with his tail between his legs too fast for the camera. 

PetExpojudge.jpg (51883 bytes)Murray competed in the Pet Costume contest held at the Lowcountry Pet Expo at Charles Towne Landing.  Although she didn't win, we had a wonderful time showing off her ladybug costume and general good manners to an adoring public.  We did have a lot of people dropping by the Lowcountry Hedgehog Society booth telling us that Murray had been robbed in the contest, though, and we were quite flattered at those compliments.Murray and Chopper with priest at Blessing.jpg (34464 bytes)

Murray participated in the Blessing of the Animals service held annually in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals.  We went to Grace Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston and were surrounded by a host of creatures ranging from dogs and cats to parrots, frogs, and hamsters.  Murray was the only hedgehog in attendance and a huge hit with the other pet lovers.

Murray as ladybug stares down the camera.jpg (7143 bytes)
We received a ladybug costume from our friend Vicki Robinson and Murray has been a very good sport about putting it on.  Since hedgehog shows are becoming more popular in the U.S. and Canada, we thought that having a costume in reserve might not be a bad idea ... and let's admit it, the picture is really cute.  This is the costume she wore for the Pet Costume Contest sponsored by the John Ancrum SPCA at the Lowcountry Pet Expo in October, details above.

Murray and Annastasia joust with tubes.jpg (11289 bytes)My friend Yoli brought Annastasia, one of her hedgehogs, over for a visit.  We took them to the local Farmer's Market, where they naturally attracted plenty of attention.  They "met" for the first time there, doing a lot of mutual sniffing and licking.  Back at home, we ended up letting them both play in Murray's pet corral, which was hilarious.   Remember that Murray, being an only 'hog, hadn't seen another hedgehog for over a year, and was fairly startled to meet one in her own pet corral.  There was a Murray watches Annastasia tube on by.jpg (22106 bytes)fair amount of tube jousting, as seen above, and tubing in general.  Murray has the dark green craft foam tube (it seems to be her favorite).  We would like to say that our girls got along swimmingly, but they played together like a couple of spoiled kids.  The photo at left shows Murray plotting to steal Annastasia's tube, as was common during their playtime.  When one would get a tube, the other would run up to her, bump her until she removed her head from the tube, and steal the tube.  There was also a lot of tube ramming and general mayhem, but we hope they had as good a time as we did watching them.

murraybaseball.gif (32383 bytes)Hedgehogs and sports, you ask?  Well, Murray at least went somewhat regularly to baseball games with us.  Our local minor league team is the Charleston RiverDogs and they have a gorgeous new stadium right on the Ashley River, so we like to get out and take in a game, some fresh air, and perhaps a chili dog.  Murray generally stayed in her hedgiebag although she did get out and roam around the stands sometimes.  And yes, the management knew she came with us and was perfectly fine with it.  We did try to keep a low profile around small children, though.

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All photos (c) 1999-2004 Heather Johnson unless otherwise noted.