My daughter got Puppy when she was 18 months old. Actually, he found her. She tagged along with me to deliver an order of my children’s books to a local toy store (they had run out and needed more to sell!). I sat her on the counter as I was checking the books in with the store. I noticed that her hand gravitated to a small container with miniature stuffed puppies, all breeds. Now, I should mention that neither of my children have ever grabbed a toy and held on for dear life, claiming, “MINE, I HAVE TO HAVE THIS!” They may have asked for things, but never threw big fits. I was always able to temper a request with a return request for my children to say “Good-bye to the ‘special toy’ and tell it we will see it next time!” It worked like a charm each time before this day and each time after this day. This day it did not work.
My daughter picked up this one little puppy, a Beagle. She held it tight to her chest without saying a word. When I was finished with my business, I asked her to tell the puppy good-bye. She just squeezed his little body tighter into hers, still not a word. After several attempts, I realized that this situation was different. The woman helping me at the counter had seen me in the store with my children many times, and she said she had never seen my daughter do this either. She said that it must mean that she needs this puppy. I realize her job is to sell toys, but I also sensed that this wasn’t an ordinary request. I listened to my mommy gut and told my daughter we would buy the puppy. The salesperson had to use another puppy to scan for pricing since my daughter’s grip was not releasing this puppy. As she did this, she told me it would be a good idea to buy another puppy or two as a back-up in case this one got lost. I conceded. They were just a few dollars a piece, so I walked out with two puppies in a bag and my daughter still gripping her puppy.
Fast forward seven years and Puppy is still a major part of my daughter’s life. She named him Puppy– it suits him. He sleeps with her every single night and travels with us. He goes to every doctor’s visit and has attended many major events in her life. Now that she is a little older, he mainly stays at home in a special “Puppy House” until bedtime. He does come out and watch movies and reads books with us. The only time my daughter lost Puppy was when she was around 4 years old and hid him from her older brother. He kept threatening to take him. She couldn’t remember where she hid him for two weeks. Back-up Puppy came out from hiding and took Puppy’s place. She was okay with this, but said that Back-up Puppy wasn’t as good because he hadn’t been loved as much (i.e., not as dirty and worn). When real Puppy was finally discovered, it was party time!
My daughter went on a three day school field trip last week. On the list of things to consider was Puppy. Fortunately, the teacher conducting the informational meeting about the field trip told all the parents and children that it was a good idea to pack a favorite “lovie” as long as it was small. She was thrilled with this news. However, the night before the trip, she grew concerned when she realized she would be in a cabin with many of her classmates. She didn’t want Puppy to get lost, so she decided to let Back-up Puppy make the trip. He would fill the gap as best he could. She had her big good-byes with Puppy and explained to him that Back-up Puppy needed to make the trip so he could stay safe. With her suitcase and backpack packed, Back-up Puppy secure in his safe spot, my daughter climbed into bed. Seconds later she burst into tears. Uncontrollable sobbing. She was going to miss me and couldn’t bear to be away. She was scared and didn’t want to go on this trip. It would be too hard to be gone. This wasn’t ideal since it was 10:30pm and she had to be awake at 4:30am! After several hugs, I asked her what she needed to help her feel better while she was away. She said if she could take a stuffed butterfly (I love butterflies) with some of my perfume on it, that would help her “hug me” while she was gone. Whew. I could do that. I got the butterfly, squirted it generously with my perfume, and put it in her backpack. She was asleep a few minutes later.
The trip went well and my daughter had a fantastic time. Not one problem. I asked her how the butterfly worked for her and if she hugged him a lot. “Oh, I took him out one time on the way down, but I didn’t need him the rest of the trip. I had Back-up Puppy. He stayed with me.” So, I was trumped by a pup. It took me aback, but then I realized that it was all a good thing. That puppy, Puppy or Back-up, has taken her through all her times, challenging and good. While the butterfly was a nice idea at the time, Puppy was really all she needed. He is a real true love.
Yesterday my daughter had to get a shot. She made me promise to bring Puppy with me when I picked her up from school so he could go with her. I told her I would. But I didn’t. I forgot. After I pick her up and we are all in the car headed to the doctor’s office, she asked me to hand her Puppy. I told her I made a mistake and forgot. She had a look of shock and then burst into tears. At the same time, as if on cue, the rain started pouring. It was dry only seconds before. My daughter said she just couldn’t ever get a shot without Puppy. I asked if we could just rush home to get Puppy right after the shot, but that just wouldn’t do. She was inconsolable. I called the doctor’s office and asked if we could delay our appointment by 15 minutes. That worked fine for her doctor. I told my daughter we would go by our house to get Puppy. She stopped crying, started smiling, and like magic, the rain stopped. Once again, Puppy saved the day!