© Courtesy Jim Woodring
Baxter is a rescued hedgehog who found a home with Woodring.
Working Hard For Hedgehogs
Linda Woodring is one such person, and then some. Now retired, this resident of Illinois became intrigued by the adorable prickly ones when her boss first introduced her to his pet hedgehog more than 18 years ago. She has been love-struck ever since. Her involvement evolved from being the owner of a little hedgehog named Dudley to today’s superstar of animal advocates.
Linda describes just a few of her many duties.
“I get the adoption applications and process them for approval and oversee all the adoptions and relinquishments that come in,” she said. “I also work closely with our web designer keeping the website up to date.”
© Courtesy Jim Woodring
Woodring rescued Gromit in the big Texas rescue (read about it on the HWS website), and he participated in past Wheel-A-Thons.
Raising Money With Exercise Wheels
The most successful fundraising event held by the HWS is run by Woodring. The annual Wheel-A-Thon brings in thousands of dollars each year to help run the organization. It is held every year on Hedgehog Day, February 2. Woodring explained the origins of this celebrated day and its title.
“Europeans used to predict winter if the hedgehogs saw their shadows by the light of the moon,” Woodring said. “When they came here and found there were no hedgehogs it became Groundhog Day.”
“Everyone has different ways of doing it,” she said. “I have my hedgies send out personal emails to all our friends and relatives saying that they’re running to raise money for hedgehogs that aren’t as lucky as they are. Another guy makes and sells hedgehog wheels and gives a portion of his sales in addition to soliciting funds. Some people just put a jar where they work with a cute picture of their hedgie and an explanation of what the money is for.”
“We outfit the running wheels with wireless bicycle odometers, calibrated periodically for accuracy,” Jim Woodring said. “Daily I read the meters, recording the daily miles, run time, average speed, maximum speed and lifetime miles. Linda enters the data into an Excel spreadsheet. We may have more running data than most anyone; I’m planning to combine all the data for a published article on hedgie running. When we visit the vet, he asks how their mileage has been recently.”
Life As A Hedgehog Rescuer
Deb Weaver is the current president of HWS and is also a good friend of Linda and Jim’s. She explains how much time Woodring dedicates to the organization and how vital she is.
“I’d say she spends at least 30 hours a week doing this job for us,” Weaver said. “She screens all potential adopters — maintaining several databases for this purpose. If we can’t find private adopters for relinquished animals we have rescue stations around the United States and Canada, and she’s in constant contact with these folks as well. Linda is the linchpin that holds our organization together, we wouldn’t exist without her.”
Always by Woodring’s side is her adored husband, Jim, who also shares her hedgehog passion and proudly supports her in her efforts.
“Linda tends to get totally involved with an interest and hedgies are no exception,” he said. “So we travel to hedgie events, meet with hedgie owners and post comments on the Yahoo chat group — and have arranged the rescue of hundreds of hedgies.”
When the couple is not tending to animal welfare efforts, they are contributing volunteer work to their local police department. And — surprise, surprise — Woodring was awarded two bronze medal Presidential Service Awards for that volunteer work as well.
“Proper care of as many as three hedgies requires daily chores of feeding, cage and wheel cleaning and arranging sleeping pigloos and blankets,” Jim Woodring said. “Most nights they get a turn sitting on her shoulder while watching TV.”
© Courtesy Jim Woodring
Woodring’s Kenny was a winner at a past show. Hedgehog shows offer enthusiasts an opportunity to have their hedgehogs compete in fun events and to meet other hedgehog enthusiasts.
Helping Hedgehogs With Laughter
It’s important to note that Woodring is not just loved for what she does, but for who she is. She has been described by many as outgoing, friendly and engaging.
Woodring is also noted for her grand sense of humor. I’ve been told that one of the funniest memories people have of Woodring arose during a hedgehog event. Deb Weaver explained.
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