A tail of two puppies

Puppy's first day in our home.
Puppy’s first day in our home.

The Christmas just after Thane’s first birthday, Santa brought Thane a bunny rabbit stuffed animal. Grey had one that he’d creatively named “Rabby”, that joined the similarly creatively named “Puppy”. Thane already had a stable of stuffed animals, but the impulse to buy cute stuffed animals for your babies is strong and Santa could not resist it. Apparently (according to the wonders of blogging and Picasa), Santa originally named the animal Mr. Bun. But Thane, ears still not working properly (he didn’t get ear tubes for another few months), heard Grey call his stuffed animal (which was actually a dog) Puppy. After that, the bunny rabbit was Puppy, and that was that.

Thane and Puppy asleep in Thane's crib after Easter services.
Thane and Puppy asleep in Thane’s crib after Easter services.

Puppy quickly went to being one of many, to the one and only. Grey, lover of novelty that he is, never settled on one particular lovely. But Thane fell hard and fast for Puppy. By spring, Puppy was his true love. Thane would suck his thumb, holding on to Puppy’s ear with the bottom of his fist, and rub Puppy’s ear with his other thumb.

Puppy comes on all our adventures
Puppy comes on all our adventures

I, not being stupid, promptly bought a second Puppy. From that time one, anytime “Puppy” has needed a bath, I’ve subtly swapped out Puppies so they’ve stayed in synch in disreputability. Thane, as far as I know, has absolutely no idea there are two Puppies.

Thane does know about Baby Puppy
Thane does know about Baby Puppy

Over time, Puppy has only become more important. We have to firmly hold the line on where Puppy is allowed to go (in the car, but not ok for Preschool). If Thane had his way, there would be no Puppy-free moments, ever. He wanders the house with Puppy in his hand. Puppy apparently aspires to a career as an aviator – he spents significant time airborne, flying high and long. Thane twists Puppy around by the ear or leg, and reflexively plays with Puppy, all the time. Puppy is a constant in Thane’s life.

Puppy in the White Mountain
Puppy in the White Mountain

Right before Camp Gramp, through excessive love, Thane pulled Puppy’s arm off. As I tacked it back together with grey thread (being no seamstress, assuredly), I congratulated myself on my forethought. Thank heavens I have two Puppies! But at the same time, I felt a sense of foreboding. I had hoped that they would endure a little longer. I mean, after the loving abuse the poor Puppies have accepted as their daily lot, it is unsurprising that they would come apart at the seams. They are extremely well made stuffies. But for one thing, this is a distinction between them. For another, I was afraid that they were both becoming long in the tooth.

My worse fears were recognized as the second Puppy suffered a terrible leg wound after being thumped against Grey in an attempt to wake Grey up. So now both Puppies have different, but significant trauma.

Old Puppy left, new Puppy right

So… I went and bought a third Puppy. As you can see from the photo, the condition of the two Puppies is rather different. New Puppy is currently on his fourth cycle through the washer/dryer, and holding up way too well if you ask me. I wonder if the only way to get that patented Puppy look is through actual experience as a Puppy. And I’m also really wondering if this will work, even if I get a better Puppy patina. Will Thane notice? How great a betrayal will it be to take his beloved Puppy and replace it with a lookalike? Does it matter that I’ve been betraying him that way since he could say only 20 words? Will he shrug off the multiplicities of Puppy (a possibility), or will knowing of my deceit destroy Puppy in his heart? I can think of few crimes I might commit greater than taking Puppy from Thane, whether physically or metaphysically.

What would you do? Would you say, “Hey, Thane, I got you another Puppy! Let’s put this one on the shelf?” Would you replace gray thread with fishing line and start in on some more serious surgery? Would you claim that Puppy went to a really good spa (next time it’s time for a Puppy bath) and that’s why he’s looking so much better?

Sometimes, as Thane drifts lazily towards sleep, Puppy in his hand and thumb in his mouth, he tells me softly. “Puppy is my best friend, mommy. I love Puppy with my whole heart. He’s a part of our family.”

Yes, yes Thane. He is.

A boy and his Puppy
A boy and his Puppy

I was going through my blog posts, and it appears I refer to Puppy in almost every developmental update I’ve done for Thane. Here are a few: