If you've been around our son Jack for long, you probably know that he dearly loves his stuffed dog, appropriately named Puppy Dog (often just "Puppy" or "Pup"). He also has a number of other dogs (depending on the context of his life, these other dogs take on various functions: baby puppies for Puppy Dog, rescue dogs of all sorts-- police, fire, etc., or just a crowd of companions to have along, his own personal entourage). But Puppy is the special one. He loves Puppy Dog with a true Velveteen Rabbit love. If you've ever seen the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, then you have a sense of how special and alive Puppy is for Jack.
A couple of days ago Jack commented that one of his dogs had knocked him over! This was hard to dispute-- he was literally picking himself up off the floor as he said so. Marcie and I laughed, and commented again about how prescient the Calvin and Hobbes comic was. Surely, Watterson had a boy like Jack.
That reminded me of the first time I made this connection. A couple of years ago (Jack was probably barely 3 years old), I was watching football, and for the first time Jack took enough interest to ask what they were doing. As I explained a very basic version of the game to Jack, I mentioned tackling, and he said, "Daddy, what is tackling?" I told him what tackling was, and he said, "Puppy does that to me all the time, and I DON'T LIKE IT!"
We're so thankful for Puppy Dog-- Jack's life (and ours) would be a little less without her.