One day a boy and his family came to the pet store where I'd been surrendered by my previous owner. He insisted on holding me. And I knew he longed to see my face and pet my soft furry cheeks, but I wasn't having any of it.
But for some reason, it didn't deter him. He still insisted on holding me. He kept talking to me with that quiet, and calm voice. It was like he was trying to get me to be friends with him or something. But I knew that trick, I wasn't budging.
Finally, his parents told him it was time to go, so I was returned to the safety of my pen. Ahhh. Crisis diverted.
But the next day, HE WAS BACK! And this time he was more persistent than ever.
There I was scrunched into a spikey ball, being cradled by his warm, soft hands. And that voice! Why did he have to sound so nice. So I grunted at him again. I even head butt him this time and pricked his finger. But he didn't give up...
Yes you guessed it. The persistent boy convinced his parents to adopt me and for the last 8 months I've been living in my cozy pen in his bedroom. During this time I've gotten to know more about him and I guess he's got to know me better too.
Seems like me and this boy are quite alike! He has quite a defence system of his own, minus the quills of course. I've noticed we're both slow to warm up to new situations and people, and we need to feel safe before we venture out of our "comfort zone". And if you hurt our feelings or if we feel threatened, watch out, we know how to retreat really well and it takes a long time to for us to forgive and trust again. Saying we are both good at protecting our hearts is an understatement!
As seen in the photo above, I did eventually unravel from my pokey ball so he could see me and hold me. But don't get me wrong, I still grunt, hiss and head butt him on occasion. And go figure! He still comes back every night to play with me, even after the time I bit him and drew blood! And I bit his grandpa too; right in the finger, and I didn't let go. I hung there like nobody's business.
And surprisingly, neither the boy nor the grandpa got mad at me. They both calmly removed me and put me back into my pen. I just can't seem to do anything wrong in their eyes. I think they may call this "unconditional love" or something like that.
I have to admit, I do love the boy and his family but I'm still hesitant to show them for fear that I'll end up back at the pet store again. Some wounds are harder to heal than others. But I'm trying and that's the best I can do for now.
Before I go, I have to tell you a little secret. One day I overheard the boy and his mom talking. The boy was excited to tell his mom that I was exploring the obstacle course he made for me that night. He asked his mom if she also noticed that I was getting more confident. And she agreed that I was. And then she said something interesting...
She told the boy that she also saw that he was becoming more confident and adventurous as well. She praised him for pushing past his comfort zone recently, in order to reach a goal that at first he thought was unattainable. He won't admit it, but I did see the boy smile. Maybe that's why he's been standing a little taller lately?
His mom told him that by being more confident and courageous he has helped me to become more courageous too. I don't know if I can explain to you how that worked, but I do know that I felt it. The boy's #confidence and #courage just seemed to rub off on me. And I have to admit, it felt really good exploring and running around the obstacle course. My favourite part was getting the mealworm prize at the end.
So, I guess with time, and the right amount of #patience, #love, and #encouragement, we both started to #trust a little more. And before we knew it, our courage and confidence emerged, allowing us both to be successful in new and different areas. Who knows, maybe one day I'll eventually let him pet my furry cheeks...
Oh! Looks like the sun is rising. It's time for me to go to bed! Until later...
Shannon Wilson Phillips BSW