Watson, Hecuba, and Hieronymous


Hieronymous Hedgehog by artist Josh Rivers

Watson the Irish Water Spaniel and Hecuba the hare were the first characters to appear in The Way to Dr. Bourru. But neither Watson nor Hecuba made it into The Mammalian Daily.

Hieronymous, on the other hand, has had a starring rôle, not to mention his own Twitter account. And, just this year, he became the spokesAnimal for GoUnderground, The Park’s oldest hibernation outfitter. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Hieronymous  appears about twelve pages into the book, when Watson and Hecuba come upon him outside Dr. Bourru’s office. Hieronymous, who has just come out of hibernation and is a bit confused, hears Watson’s tail wagging and mistakes it for the sound of sympathy. This exasperates Hecuba:

“Honestly, Hieronymous! Sometimes I think you’re still as deaf as the day you were born!”

It seems that from the very beginning, other animals have found Hieronymous exasperating. He’s a bit slow, I admit, but he’s well-intentioned and, to my mind, very sweet and quite vulnerable. But he also has moments of undeniable wisdom. I’d meant him to be just goofy, but he took on a life of his own and I’ve been trying to protect him from himself ever since.