DJ and I have always loved animals. We both had large stuffed animal collections that often occupied us for hours. I remember many, many times that we played in the basement (our “play room”) for insanely long periods of time with our stuffed animals.
We loved playing “vet.” We didn’t have those fancy doctor toys that kids can get now, but that never slowed us down. We used pens as needles for giving shots. Our pillows became beds for the animals. My doll blankets were collected to be used in keeping sick animals warm. An Ace bandage (from when I sprained my ankle) and handkerchiefs became bandages for our stuffed animals. Smaller animals would magically become babies to be paired with a “mother.” Shoestrings were leashes for walking the dogs and we walked them all the time!
Our little vet clinic saw some pretty interesting animals come through. We treated everything from cats and dogs to horses to tigers to a baby seal. We weren’t afraid of any of the animals. We’d treat the wildest, meanest creatures and cuddle them like kittens!
As we got older, there were times our “surgeries” were a little more real. With all that loving, our favorite animals were falling apart! I sewed the head back on my favorite, a homemade brown cat named “Cat” (and the ugliest cat you ever saw!) about a thousand times. There were plenty of others who needed popped seams repaired and similar surgeries. We had a tendency for “rescuing” damaged stuffed animals from the local thrift store, knowing that I could easily fix them.
I still have quite a few of my furry friends. I plan to give them to my children over time. Some will be Isaiah’s. Others will be saved for future children. They still have lots of loving in them! Good old Cat, though, will be mine as long as I live.