Author(s): Massimo Vacchetta
The heart-warming story of how a tiny hedgehog helped one man find hope.
'Could you look after it for a couple of days? . . .' So begins the extraordinary friendship between veterinarian Massimo, who is at a low spot in his life, and a tiny, orphaned hedgehog. Only a few days old, covered with soft, white quills and mewling quietly, this little creature will turn around his life forever. Through the sheer force of Ninna's personality - curious, playful, affectionate - and the sudden, unexpected paternal protectiveness he feels nursing her back to health, Massimo reconnects with the world - and finally begins to feel like home.
But as Ninna wakes from her first hibernation, she grows up, like any teenager, longing for freedom. A creature of the wild, she craves the free range of the woods beyond Massimo's house. Massimo must accept that Ninna is ready to move on . . . but one little hedgehog saved and released into her natural habitat is a new beginning for Massimo: setting up a sanctuary for the injured, orphaned, fragile - but with a will to live so strong it is truly contagious.
A Handful of Happiness is their funny and life-affirming story - a celebration of our favourite prickly wildlife creature, which will make you laugh and cry. Perfect for animal lovers and fans of A Streetcat Named Bob, Arthur, Finding Gobi and Monty Don's Nigel.
Massimo Vacchetta is the chairman of The Hedgehog Home, an association whose mission is the protection of hedgehogs and their environment. He is also the founder of a shelter and rehabilitation centre for hedgehogs. He lives in Northern Italy, where he is a veterinarian specializing in the care of cattle. Antonella Tomaselli is a journalist, author, environmentalist and lover of animals.