This puppy is named Pinkie. She was given to Grace by my best friend, and the girl's Auntie Tracy. Grace carried Pinkie around with her EVERYWHERE, under her arm, with Bibble and Twyla and whatever other little friends Gracie could manage to carry. Lately, the group of friends includes a Beanie Baby Hamster, which Grace decided was a girl and named Uncle Adam, after her Uncle Adam who gave it to her, as well as a few Littlest Petshop hamsters. As you can imagine, Grace has had her arms and hands full, keeping track of all of her little friends.
Make no mistake about it. They are her friends. They are as real to her and as much friends to her as any person, and she's very VERY attached to her friends. Add to that the fact that my best friend, Auntie Tracy, gave this puppy to Grace for Grace's 4th birthday this past year. It's a very, very special puppy. Pinkie has been so very loved that her fur was no longer distinguishable as being "cream colored" and her ears and tail were no longer, in fact, pink. She was dirty, grungy, and obviously loved well. There's no doubt that she's a little girl's very much loved friend.
Yesterday we had dinner at my mother's, and when Grace was done, she and her Daddy went for a walk to the park up the street. Grace would NOT leave her friends behind. As a result, when they were about 3/4 of the way home, Grace realized that she didn't have Pinkie in her arms. Her Daddy and uncles went back to the park, but couldn't find Pinkie. Grace was absolutely heartbroken, and as she cried, I had to do my best to hold back my own tears. There's a chance that another child picked it up and brought Pinkie home. Pinkie, who was "pregnant" with 3 little puppies, stuffed inside her velco-sealed Hoo Hoo.
Daddy and I even walked back to the park with Grace one last time, in case it was missed on the side of the road, and so that Grace could see for herself that Pinkie was not there. She was very sad, but no longer screaming and crying, and was afraid that Pinkie was scared and alone. I suggested that Pinkie was found by a loving little girl and would take care of Pinkie, but she preferred to believe that Pinkie is living on a special cloud in a special puppy house. She believes Pinkie is in Heaven. Since it's helping her cope, we're letting her believe that.
Last night, I told my mom about where Grace got Pinkie, so she e-mailed Tracy. Who felt so badly, she told her own 4 yr old, Ella, what had happened. When she heard that Grace was sad and was crying, she told Tracy to give Grace HER Puppy Surprise and insisted that Grace needed it more than she did. The puppy is still brand new. Tracy brought Pink to Grace last night, and while Grace is still sad about Pinkie, she's happy to have another puppy that's almost the same, given by her Auntie Tracy. And named, not surprisingly, Pink Tracy. Again, I had trouble holding back my tears as I saw how Gracie's face lit up and the smile came back to her face. She still worries about Pinkie, but seems to be comforted by still believing Pinkie is in Heaven, and her arms feel full again with the addition of Pink Tracy, Pink for short. Ella is happy that Pink Tracy has a good home, with a new Mommy who loves her to pieces.
It is NEVER a dull moment when you have children. Particularly little girls. And I'm sure that in no time, Pink Tracy will not be quite so pink, and will not appear so new-from-the-box. She will show the signs of love in a sweet wear-and-tear fashion that only a 4 yr old little girl can impose on a well loved friend.
Case in point, Bibble, the most loved friend EVER. Bibble is a little dirtier (although washed often) and more bald since the last photo op. Just in case you were wondering. His wings have also been resewn onto his back about 2 or 3 times since the last photo op. As I said, the most loved Lovey EVER.