This may sound extremely cheesy and dumb, but my husband and I have a stuffed dog. His name is Moe and we treat him like family. We got him to help with my depression and overall dog fever since we are not at a place in our lives to own a dog.
When we first got Moe, my sister somewhat looked at us weird. So, I thought she didn’t like Moe. However, the next time we saw her, she asked where Moe was. She cared about him simply by the way we treated him. She saw, yes, he may have been a stuffed dog—but he was family nonetheless.
As cheesy as it sounds to have said stuffed animal, I think there is something to be said about learning to love and care even the silliest parts of life. The way we love and care for Moe is the same way little girls love their dolls. They carry them around everywhere they go. They comfort them, feed them, and love them. The dolls are a representation of the real-life possibly of being a mother one day.
I think society is so fixed on trying to make sure everything is real and tangible without leaving a possibility for imagination and playfulness. It seems as if there is a moment when being playful is only reserved for when children are around. Looking at my own life, I can see some tendencies of not wanting to be silly or a child at heart, and that’s not healthy.
There is a time for the carefree joy and laughter that comes with being a child without responsibilities. There is a time to let oneself remember the reality of owning a dog can live inside of a stuffed pet that will never respond or love you back. There is a time to shatter society’s stigma that there is no time for free, imaginative fun in adulthood.
Having a stuffed animal and treating it like family may be odd to some but Moe has sure helped with my depression and dog fever. Moe has helped soften my desire to have a real-life dog. He has helped me show my sister what family is. He has helped me learn the power of loving something or someone that may never love you back. He has helped me see that loving simply to love with no other intentions is healthy, honest, and good.
I leave you with this: If you have a childhood stuffed pet or even eyed one as an adult that you must have, get it. Remind yourself what it is like to be an innocent child who loves without any preconceived notions or intentions. Remind yourself what it is like to live with an unstoppable imagination. Most of all, do not be ashamed if you consider it family. After all, you may never know who may truly begin to see family can come in many shapes, forms, and sizes.