Prickles and Pits: A Blended Rescue Family
Marie is the mom of Tember and Okja, two BARCS alums, and Mr. Pickles and Lil’ Monster, two rescue hedgehogs. She is the curator of the Instagram profile @picklesandpits.
When I moved back to Baltimore after undergrad in 2013, I knew very little about what I wanted to do for the future. However, I had one exception: I knew I wanted a dog.
Now that I was on my own, I missed my family dog, Jenny. I searched the websites of local rescues and shelters on a near daily basis, which is how I found BARCS. I knew I wanted to give a home to a pup that needed a second chance; one that was probably confused and unsure about their future.
While walking through the BARCS kennel rooms, I found myself leaning toward the shy and docile dogs: the ones who were curled up in a ball in the back of their space, nervous or a little shaky. Tember laid on her elevated bed in the back of her cage, only looking up with soft pouty eyes. When it came time to meet her, Tember bolted out the back door and laid on her side at the base of my feet. In hindsight, I realize that she probably knew what she was doing to play at my heart strings (she's super smart and very crafty), but in that moment, all I knew was that she had claimed me.
I put her on hold and scheduled when to come back in after her spay surgery, which was the exact day of my move in to the new apartment. I was so lucky that my family and friends helped me manage the move and adoption all in one day, because I knew there was no way I was going to give her up.
All dogs have their own good and bad traits, but even Tember’s quirkiest of quirks were faultless. She was smart but lazy, nervous but loving, and way too sophisticated to ever engage in a game of fetch. She was perfect for me and for my family. With her docile temperament, she immediately earned the hearts of everyone she encountered.
However, I had a feeling something was missing for Tember. Though we can never know for certain the circumstances of Tember’s past, she did show some evidence of neglect both in her physical condition and in her extreme fear of being crated. She was sensitive and cautious, as if her confidence had not yet bloomed. It became clear to me that she needed a friend to provide her with the love and companionship that she so charitably provided to me.
After four years of Tember being the sole apple of my eye, I was finally able to fulfill the promise I made. During volunteer hours one Saturday afternoon, a young but calm “grandma” of a dog came in as a stray at BARCS. We took her home, thinking Tember needed a tranquil snuggle buddy, and yet, the universe had different plans for us.
When Okja got home and comfortable, her personality completely flipped. Luckily for us, opposites tend to attract. Okja is an unrelenting, “act now, think later” adventurer whose hyper and goofy, topsy turvy moves provided the peanut butter for Tember’s jelly. I owe her so much--not only for being the slapstick comedian in our house, but also for teaching Tember how to be fully self sufficient.
Tember and Okja are our everything, but their influence has not stopped there. Through what can only be described as a butterfly effect, these dogs have spurred countless numbers of other adoptions. I have been told by so many friends that Tember single-handedly raised the issue of animal rescue in their families, so when the time came for them to expand, they visited shelters instead of pet stores.
Our family has also recently grown to include two rescue hedgehogs, Mr. Pickles and Lil’ Monster. They are the small and sassy prickly brothers complimenting the soft and tender hearts of our precious girls.
Soon, we decided to graduate from BARCS volunteers to BARCS volunteers AND fosters. We live and breathe animal rescue in our hobbies, home and work. To share this love and inspiration with others, we started our own Instagram page, @pricklesandpits. Through this profile, we are able to actively market our fosters to potential adopters and advocate for animal rescue. And while our goal is to encourage families to always think rescue, who doesn’t like to see a hedgehog in a coffee mug or a pupper in a sweater?
The best thing about being a part of the BARCS family is that you learn how truly NOT unique your experience is. BARCS gives animals who have lived a little harder, fought a little longer and developed a deeper understanding of what it means to be loved a chance at finding their forever family.
So please, share our mission, follow us on Instagram, and most importantly, join us in saving lives by adopting a homeless pet.
Donate today to make a difference.