By: Kate Gruetter
Throughout my sixteen years on this Earth, I have cycled through about a dozen stuffed animals. Frogs, dogs, bears, and one still misplaced sloth all comforted me during the night. It’s no surprise I’ve gone through so many separate stuffed species; I tend to treat these plushies less than ideally.
My first — and favorite— stuffed animal was Beary. A brown stuffed bear with beady eyes, Beary was my first love. I smothered that poor plushy with my love every night and in return, it warded off my nightmares and protected my dreams. Despite all his help, I have to admit I put Beary through a lot. On one particular occasion, I confused my loving critter with a similar looking bear in my aunt’s guest bedroom. My aunt’s Beary, however, was missing an eye and had an arm haphazardly sewn on, and I began to spiral. What happened to my dear Beary overnight? What brought about this damage? Safe to say, I found the true Beary a few minutes later, but I will never forgive myself for mistaking my stuffed animal for another’s.
Beary did not only suffer from a case of mistaken identity. The poor, unsuspecting stuffed mammal fell subject to a maiming by my vicious and bloodthirsty canine, Goldie. The destroyed bear sat in a bag in the corner of my room, awaiting possible surgery, before both my mother and I gave up on him, and threw his remains away.
Another sad story involves Frog. I never actually named Frog, but as I write this article I realize he deserves a title, especially after all the trauma he endured at my hands. Frog suffered a similar fate to Beary, except Beary actually met mercy; Goldie gnaws on and chews on Frog every chance she gets. The green amphibian is stiff with a layer of spit even now, sitting on a high shelf years after his last encounter with a Gruetter pet.
Now, I wish I could tell you the story of the illusive Big Bear, but I actually know nothing about this stuffed animal. He’s big and was probably a white-ish color at one time, though now he’s more yellowish cream. I cannot remember if Big Bear was mine or my sister’s first, but I can tell you she abandoned him, and that’s how I came into current possession of him. Even Big Bear’s suffering is a mystery. All I can tell you is that he is currently losing stuffing out of a hole in his head, and resembles a deflated balloon more than an actual animal.
Another stuffed mystery is the whereabouts of my beloved stuffed sloth. My first ever squishmallow, my dear friend Sydney Prakash gifted me this animal in sixth grade, when I was hopelessly obsessed with sloths. However, only days after I received this magnificent being, I lost it, never to be seen again.
So, if any of my missing or maimed stuffed animals are reading this now, I would like to issue a formal apology for the damage and harm inflicted upon you.
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