By Hannah Stevens @hannahshewans
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Videographer / director: Natasha Fernandes
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Ellie Winstanley
Editor: Joshua Douglas
Dachshunds Maya, Peanut and Minnie the Hedgehog are one very happy family, whose antics are supervised by adoring owner Natasha Fernandes.
Minnie is the oldest at four years and seven months. She is an African Pygmy hedgehog, which are bred as pets because they must be kept at a constant temperature to live and cannot survive in the wild.
Maya joined the family in 2015 and Peanut, the baby of the family, was born on Valentine’s Day 2016.
The trio have been delighting the internet with their antics since 2015 and they now have over 28,000 followers on their Instagram account @mayathesausage
The gang does not look like an ordinary family, but owner Natasha, 43, says they are as playful and mischievous as any “ordinary” pets.
Peanut and Minnie are notorious for stealing Maya’s food, but luckily she never seems to mind much.
Natasha said: “Maya’s got the loveliest temperament, even Peanut will steal food or a treat out of Maya’s mouth and she won’t do anything.
“She’s really got the loveliest nature.”
Some might assume that dogs and hedgehogs should not mix, however, Natasha trusts in Maya and Peanut’s tempers.
She remembers discovering Minnie eating out of Maya’s food bowl for the first time. Instead of growling Maya just raced to eat it all before Minnie.
Natasha says the dogs are constantly following the hedgehog around, fascinated by everything she does.
Natasha said: “They’ll follow her and try and engage with her, but she doesn’t always like to respond.
“Minnie doesn’t mind them and she’s likes to climb on their backs. She gets on with them really well and they follow her around like her own personal entourage.”
Although they are almost blind in the daytime, Natasha thinks hedgehogs make the perfect pets.
She said: “You can pick them up just like a cat or a dog, but she doesn’t like her head being stroked.
“She makes this really cute, odd noise, which is called “huffing”, we stroke her back, bathe her and she even has a little toothbrush.”
Natasha says she helped Minnie strengthen her legs as a youngster with a training ‘boot camp', but in her old age she is starting to take it easy.
Now she sticks to her obstacle course in the garden and keeping her pooch sisters in check.