I remember the day I first met him (or at least I remember as much as a five-year-old can--the rest I fill in with my imagination). He was a bean bag mutt. He was not all that different than the piles upon piles of critters that occupied my bed, my bedroom floor, my closet. He didn't move. Didn't make noise. Wasn't particularly soft. Wasn't expensive. He didn't look all that cool. He was just a mutt.
Maybe I got him.
Maybe I related.
Maybe I knew what it was like to not quite fit in. Even at the age of five.
He became my buddy mutt. My constant companion. My best friend. I snuggled with him in my bed. I cried tears into his fur when I was hurt. I talked to him about my day. He loved me. I loved him. If I lost him, my world came crashing down. Everyone suffered until he was found.
My Fluffy. A name that certainly did not fit, but he was mine. And it was his name. No one dared to argue. I was five. You don't argue with a five-year-old.
I was 13. I still remember the day. Fluffy had his spot at the foot of my bed. He sat there every day for eight years (unless he was in a backpack, suitcase, or of course, in my arms). No one made fun of the thirteen-year-old girl with the stuffed puppy dog. Everyone knew better.
Except on this day. My mother was angry. She was steaming. Boiling over. I'm certain that in the midst of my teenage angst I said or did something to cause her to flip out. Between screams and yells, door slams and threats, Fluffy got caught in the crossfire. As a last ditch effort to get through to me, my mother grabbed Fluffy and in only a moment ripped him in half. In half.
Little beads went flying. I fell to the floor and began frantically gathering up the tiny parts of Fluffy. With tears streaming down my face I looked up to see my mother holding what was left of Fluffy in her hands. In an instant she was on the floor, desperately trying to undo what she had just done.
My mom and I made up (tearing apart my nearly life long companion had my mother surprisingly seeing things my way). But Fluffy, sadly, had a very long recovery. I stuffed what beads I found into his limp little body. I took a needle and thread and stitched him up. His legs never quite matched up. The stitches stretched along the side of his little torso and up the side of his head and down to his snout. He looked like Dr. Frankenstein's puppy. Over the next several years the paint on the eyes started to scratch off (until I took a Sharpie to them) and his fur became more and more matted (probably from my tears and Lord only knows the germs that accumulated on that poor thing). I attached an old angel pin when one of the stitches broke open--it has been there ever since. No matter what, I never gave him up. Never. He now resides in the cushy drawer next to my bed--yes, he has a little puppy bed in the drawer (an old receiving blanket). I don't pull him out often. But there are days that I need to . . .
The "FLUFFY WANNABES"
The stitches . . .