Never in my life have I ever received a gift this cool... a pet, a African Pigmy Hedgehog named Bilbo!  Michael Scott Karpovich

Bilbo... outstanding in a field!

Bilbo Baggins - a hedgehog outstanding in her field!

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What follows are Bilbo's reports back to his family & buddies in Hesperia Michigan.  And a few of the letters she has received back from friends.  You will find the most recent report on the bottom of this page. She would love to hear from you...

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THE BILBO REPORT #1   June 2, 1999

It is hard to believe that it has been three long weeks since I left my beloved home, family & friends in Hesperia, Michigan! I miss you all so much!

I hated the long ride in "KARP’s" rattletrap car -- if you recall, on that day we ended up traveling through some very crazy rainy weather. We actually had to pull off the road because there was no visibility. I tried to tell him it all looked the same to me (being nearly blind), but that was no consolation.

He stopped at a pet store on the way home and invested in a book and all sorts of things that the storeowner convinced him were crucial to raising a hedgehog successfully. But you know me, I will probably have nothing to do with them!

We finally arrived in this town of Watrousville (outside of Caro). At first, I was not quite sure about the change (although anything is better than that car), but now I am quite settled.

KARP has a cat named Gert… (short for Gertrude). I have no problems with her but she runs away every time I lick her! I think she is a little stuck-up!

KARP says that I am "the nerdiest pet he has ever owned!" From what I can make out, that is the highest of compliments. You know me, I just take it in stride… I guess I am pleased to be a "NERDY" pet.

I do have one problem with KARP (and it is not his colorful shoes) … It is just that he wakes me in the middle of the day - every day - to show me to another group of kids who insist on seeing if my spines are really sharp. I don’t mind being awakened in the middle of the day … you all did that … it is just these very tiny kids keep poking me with their sticky fingers! I will have to speak to KARP about this.

One thing I do love … every day that he is home (which seems to be at least half the time), he takes me out for long walks in the yard or in the woods! You would not believe the things I have been able to smell, lick, eat – and spit up on!!!!   Oh, glory!

Well, my dear friends and family… that is it for now! KARP says that you were the best people he has ever spoken for, and that no school could ever live up to the gift you gave him! I am not sure which gift he is speaking of… I know you clapped when he spoke. But the only thing I saw you give him was my wheel – and that was so he could carry it for me! Speaking of my wheel – it is getting dark and I need to get on it so I can keep Michael (AKA KARP) up all night… I find that if he is up all night, he is slower to wake me during the day!



Bilbo, the adventurer!

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Bilbo is bushed after a night exploring....

THE BILBO REPORT #2   June 7, 1999

Hey Gang!

The adventure goes on… It has been two months since I moved to the cultural mecca of Watrousville, Michigan (outside of the huge city of Caro, Michigan!). As I mentioned in my last note, I really miss my Hesperia family … I really do!

I guess that most of the gang is gone from our school for the summer… I hope you all enjoy your vacation. I will do my very best to keep you updated on what happens with me for the summer. I anticipate many exciting adventures.

The children of the neighborhood can't walk by Karp's door without him yelling at them asking if they want to see "a hedgehog!" (I tried to tell him that I am more than "just a hedgehog," but he just doesn't understand.) Then Karp wakes me up in the middle of the day, pulls me out of my sleeping box and lets dozens of kids poke and paw at me. I don't know why these people can't simply wait until a more reasonable hour, like 2 a.m. Now I have those kids knocking on the door asking Karp to wake me so they can show me off to their friends … the only upside of this disturbance is they often bring very juicy beetles and bugs which I dearly love to devour.

It has been so hot this past week that I often sleep spread-eagle on the floor … the other day Karp let me take a "swim" in a small puddle of water while he was watering his garden! I didn't even know I could swim … but I can!

I want you to know that I write these messages to you late at night...long after Karp goes to bed. It is the only time I can get on his computer. I am excited about putting up my own home page… I figured if KARP could have one, I could have one, too!  If you know anyone else that should be getting this update, please let me know. E-mail me back just to say "HI!"

Well, I have got to run on my wheel so I guess I gotta go … I am passionate about my wheel.


Bilbo, Certified Professional Wheel Runner!

OUCH!  I want to be alone... LET ME SLEEP!  Can't you see it is nearly NOON!

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         Sorry it took so long to respond. We are FINALLY starting to get settled down in our new school year.
        We miss you Bilbo, but we know that you are happy and well taken care of with Karp. The custodians are so thrilled they no longer have to pick up your cedar chips.
         Karp, I hope that you are having a great year so far with the appearances you make -- it must be wonderful to touch so many lives. The kids here didn't stop talking about you for weeks, and brought your name back up when school started again this year. Thank you.
         The kids all say "hi"... a couple wanted to send a note. Thanks for letting Bilbo use your computer to write to us. We really appreciate it -- the letters make us smile.
Have a nerdy day!

Hey Karp, I haven't been turned upside down lately. You have to come
back, so I can be an upside down Rick again. NERDS

Hey Karpo-nerd, I just wanted to say hello and I hope you come back
sometime. Tell Bilbo I said" hey there" too.:) See ya, the girl who
laughed alot.:) Sherry
Have a great day!!!!

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The Bilbo Report #3    September 21, 1999

Dear Friends,

     Welcome back to school! I am so happy some of you wrote "KARP" and me. We really miss you guys. I wish I had written you sooner but I have been busy -- very busy!

     Karp lets me have the run of the house several hours each day and I have explored the most amazing places. You may remember that he is remodeling a 100-year-old house. Well, the remodeling allows all sorts of bizarre things to explore, hide in, and lick! I found a hole in the wall near the baseboard. I climbed in and went directly up the wall!

     I could hear Michael (KARP) calling me but I just rolled into a ball and slept for over half the day! Finally, after Karp seemed to give up looking, I climbed out and explored some more places where he didn't want me to explore … under the bed, under the sink, in the cat box, in the air ducts and in his boxes of papers. It was there that he found me - I guess I made a little too much noise rustling the papers.

Yours Prickly…

P.S.    Tell all the custodians that they protest too much ... you say that they are "so thrilled they no longer have to pick up my cedar chips." I think they are just sad and miss me. Maybe I will send you some used chips so you can spread them on the floor -- just tell 'em it's a gift from me!

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Dear Karp and Bilbo,

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are all pretty excited about the short vacation this week. That, combined with the full moon Monday night, has really set the class on fire.

Now for a few messages...

The whole class says "hi"

Ricky says, "sup?" and wants you to know he got to go to Las Vegas

Cade, my youngest son really wants "BILBO" to know he misses him.

Jack, a former student who went to a conference where you spoke, wants you to know he will never forget you. He spent a couple of years in prison now and is trying to get his life back under control. 3 years on a tether will probably help.

We all say Happy Thanksgiving and one of the things we are thankful for is people like you who want to make a difference.

Take care

Mary and the whole Alternative class.

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Bilbo Report #4 December 1999

Happy Holiday, my family! I really miss you all. Please tell Cade I really miss him, too!

Life here with Karp has been very fun… A few weeks before the snow fell, I helped Karp rake leaves. I loved burrowing into the pile of leaves. Karp got a little worried that he wouldn’t find me again but just as it got dark, I appeared by the door ready to go in to run on my wheel!

The neighborhood kids still stop by and visit often. Seeing them makes me miss you guys more! The other day Karp took me to his niece Xandrea’s fourth grade class because she was doing "show and tell". When he woke me up around 11:00 am, I really had to go to the bathroom bad. He put me in a box and drove me to school. (I forgot how much I hate Karp’s driving.) He took me into the principal’s office and introduced us… but I really had to go to the bathroom. I figured I could hold it.

Finally, he took me into Xandrea’s classroom where I met all of these kids who all had to touch me and see if I really hurt them. I almost felt like I was home with you guys. Then just before I was sure I would have exploded from "holding it," the teacher Mrs. Williams decided to hold me!! I want to assure you guys that I tried to hold it … I just couldn’t. Mrs. Williams said that she gave Xandrea extra credit because I went to the bathroom on her… I think she was just trying to make me feel less embarrassed. Frankly, I just wanted to crawl back into my box and hide… so I did just that.

Hey Ricky, I hate the lights of Las Vegas. Heck, I hate all lights but if I join you in Las Vegas – at least there the fourth graders won’t laugh at me! (GRIN)

Well gang, I've got to go back to my room. Tonight is Cottage Cheese night! Yippy!

Be well, my friends… 

Happy New Year!


    Hey guys! Karp found this book that he really enjoyed... he says it tells ya' everything you ever wanted to know about taking care of a hedgehog!   Now I need a book on how to "take care of a KARP!"

A really cool book if you love Hedgehogs!

Click on the book and read more about it or buy it...


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