Monday, October 12, 2009

The saga of Lucky Puppy


Last week I wrote about how E and I broke down and finally bought Henry a new Lucky Puppy to replace the one we (read: I) lost in Yosemite.  We found him on EBay--technically, Lucky Pup is a Ty Pluffie named "Puppers", and he is no longer in production.  Of course he isn't.  Someday I'm going to tell this story to my son about how we loved him $45.00 plus shipping: roughly what it cost us to buy a *gulp* collector's item just because it broke our hearts to  hear him ask for his little friend who was missing since July.

At first I was just sure we'd find Puppy.  I thought he had to be tucked in a pillowcase, or he was taking a vacation from four year olds and Transformersby carving out a little "me time" in the back seat of Uncle Grant's pickup.  No such luck.  I emailed the fam asking them if they'd accidentally brought Puppy home in one of their cars, or if they'd seen him after we left.  Everyone offered condolences, but no one had clues.  April swore up and down that she remembered him having Puppy in the truck on the way home.  I didn't know.  There were some side-of-the-road bathroom shenanigans for Henry that trip home--à la the half marathon runners on the levee road--so there was even a part of me that worried that in addition to the "present" Henry left on the side of Hwy 140, he'd left his friend.

I called Yosemite and pleaded with the Curry housekeeping people to please set aside this old stinky toy if they found it stuffed in the sheets of his bed, because it meant the world to my little Buddha man.  I then left a message for the general Yosemite Lost and Found number.  The only call back if they find the item you're missing.  Then I waited.

No luck.  Zilch.  I tore open bags and purses at home and inspected the back and underside of every bed and couch.  Henry put on a brave face, but sometimes when I'd put him to bed, he'd ask where's Puppy? and I'd melt into a puddle right there on the floor.  It tore up my heart, especially since I felt responsible.  There's no worse feeling than your kid wanting for something, but I'd have to say that when you feel like your negligence caused the hurt, that feeling gets kicked up a notch.  It pained me to look at his picture with Puppy on my computer.

So, as I said, E and I forked over nearly fifty big ones to assuage my guilt and hopefully give the little man a new buddy.  I resisted a replacement initially because I was so heart sick over the fact that there was no way to substitute something that his sister brought to the hospital for him the day he was born.  Puppy 2.0 would be a visual twin, but I'd know in my heart that he wasn't the same guy.  Just like Harry Kim when he crossed over from the parallel universe in that one episode of Star Trek Voyager to replace his alter ego.  Everyone was so happy to see Voyager return home, but I knew Harry Kim was an imposter.  A shadow of the real Harry Kim.  Oh my, how the nerd is showing on me today.  This was the same.  I would always know it wasn't really Puppy.  I didn't know if we'd tell Henry that this wasn't his friend or not, but we couldn't take him asking for his friend anymore.

The EBay seller was nothing if not prompt.  Those Ty/Beanie Baby people are a little crazy if you ask me, but I appreciated her efficiency.  Puppy 2.0 arrived in the mail on Friday.  We told Henry he had a surprise coming, but we didn't say what.  I don't think we were trying to build suspense so much as we were putting off thinking about what to do in that awkward situation.  Puppy 2.0 came and E told Henry to sit on the bed, close his eyes, and put out his hands.  While Henry sat there anxiously, eyelids pressed together, E ripped off the tag.  E gave him the okay and he grabbed him and said "Hey, it's Puppy!  He's softer!"

E and I had a three second silent (eyes-only) conversation about which way we'd take this one.  A beat passed.  "Yeah," I said to Henry "he went away for a while and had a bath."  This seemed to work, and the dog looked exactly the same, only his saggy baggy parts were back where they started before all the drooling and washing and dragging around.  Puppy 2.0 was loved instantly.

"Puppy was at the ho-tail [hotel] and he got clean!  Yay!"  He hugged Puppy 2.0 and didn't let him leave his side all weekend.  He took Puppy 2.0 on our day trip to the cabin and he slept with him at E's parents when we spent the night.  My heart glowed to see him with that little soft brown dog at his hip or trailing behind him.  There's something about Henry and Puppy that just go together.  Life was better.  Puppy 2.0 was assimilated back in to the fold with little question at all.

Of course you know where this is going.  If it was written in one of my students' essays, I'd accuse them of relying to heavily on clichés.  I'd ask them if they understood the word trite and I'd groan about predictability.  You know what happened, right?

After we got home yesterday, I got a bug about cleaning up the playroom--a deep cleaning bug.  I parked myself in the middle of the room, and before I even started in on the toy bins--the reason for my organization fest--the first thing I picked up was Ad's purse which was right SMACK in the middle of the room.  I unzipped it just to see what she had been carrying around, and there he was.

Yup.

Lucky Puppy, in the saggy, dingy, nubby flesh.  Puppy Sr.  The original.  I couldn't believe it.  It couldn't be real.  I had scrutinized the corner of every single room, every container, every pillowcase and bag, and here was Puppy right under my nose, staring back at me with those innocent black eyes and perpetually surprised eyebrows like Mom, why didn't you just look in here and let me out?

Ad looked at me and said "oh yeah.  I didn't even remember I had him in there.  I was playing with him."  Like, IN JULY?  And you couldn't remember since then that you'd been playing with Puppy?  Not one of the forty-two times I asked you if you'd seen him?

I knew.  I knew this would happen.  Part of my reluctance to buy a new one had to be the feeling that we'd find it as soon as we bought a replacement, but so much time had passed!  Then to find the erstwhile Puppy two days after this usurper--this doppelganger--had taken up residence in our home.  *Sigh.* It blew my mind.

So what did we do?  E hid the original and swapped him out later that night.  Henry didn't seem to notice that his old pal was back and I wasn't about to introduce trust issues into his life by trying to explain the whole thing.  Now we have a replacement in case this happens again (which it won't) and Henry has his pal back, comforting smell and all.

It's nothing if not a good story I can tell him when he's 18.  Or maybe 30.  Or maybe I won't tell him.  It's our little secret, Internet.






5 comments:

  1. I can't believe Puppy has been hiding in your house this entire time! I wish that I would miraculously find the necklace I lost a year ago...doubtful, but hey I can hope right.

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  2. Aww. Well it seems to have worked out overall? Just make sure that extra one is really well hidden (not where you hide birthday and Christmas presents, kids can find those...sorry).

    This reminds me of the little stuffed bunny my cousin has. You wanna talk dirty, this poor bunny's ears--once white--are permanently this icky brown color from my cousin using them as a pacifier or whatever for the first 3+ years of her life. (She's almost 6 now, so no more sucking--I think--but "Bee" definitely still goes wherever she does.)

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  3. This was a great story with a happy ending....let's make a screenplay! ;) I'm glad y'all found puppy and his brother nip/tuck puppy. LOL

    Sarah

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  4. Ok, that was awesome. Life is just like that, isn't it? LOVE the post! And I am glad he has his puppy back.

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  5. I TOLD you I'd seen Lucky Puppy on the way home from Yosemite. I knew we hadn't lost him (though I was sick to think of him on the side of the road near the river). I just love Ad's response...I can hear her words and picture her face when she said it to you. Hilarious.

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