Generally I get Maly ready for bed every night. We’ll eat dinner, play for a while, take a bath, put on pajamas and read a book before it’s time to go to bed. A few weeks ago, after I read a book to Maly, she asked me to tell her a story. Usually midway through the book we’re reading, I go into retired mode. When she asked me to tell her a story, the request caught me a little off guard. She loves animals, so I thought I’d tell her a story about my childhood pets.
I told her about Beau and Tinker. When I was a young boy, we had a little beagle named Tinker, and a yellow lab named Beau. Those were my childhood companions – the dogs that every little boy should have growing up. We played all kinds of games together. They were my soldiers in my army. They were the monsters when I needed a foe. They were my travel companions when I needed to explore. They were my guardians when I needed help in the real world.
I don’t remember what all I told Maly about my companions, but I know I told her about how their lives ended. Tinker was shot on the side of the road and we had to have the vet put her down. Beau, who was an old yeller in every since of the word, was attacked by coyotes and his last proverbial leg wasn’t strong enough to hold him up and longer. Beau was the one that caught copperheads and rattlesnakes. He was the one who crushed armadillos in his jaws. He was the one who was always by my side.
Maly knows that her dad had two dogs as a boy. Beau and Tinker.
On another recent nightly bedtime ritual, asked Maly what she wanted to ask Santa to bring her for Christmas. She leaned up in her bed, carefully held up three fingers and said, “three kitten toys! Oh, and a doggy toy. Like Copper from Fox & Hound.” Well, Santa and I had actually been texting each other earlier that evening and he told me that Maly had too many kitten toys already, but the dog toy might not be a bad idea.
I picked up a little stuffed beagle toy from the local toy store a couple evenings later. I thought about getting her a stuffed Copper, but decided against it. I know the Disney empire is hurting and all, but I wanted to give her something that I picked out; something of a reflection of me and my childhood.
Fast forward to Christmas morning. I have learned two things this year: 1) When the child reaches the age of 3.5 years old, she gets the concept of Christmas morning gifts and 2) the child excitedly screaming, “I GOT A PUPPY DOG!!!” from the side of your bed on Christmas morning is one of the sweetest sounds I think I’ve heard since I heard my wife say, “I do.”
Over the past four days, Maly has had that little stuffed beagle closely in-tow. For the first couple days, she called her dog Tinker. Just yesterday, I was informed that the dog’s new name in Beau. Either way, I’m glad she likes it. I’ll be curious as to what the dog’s name is when I get home this evening.
I think I just might put a bug in her ear about getting a real dog. Someday.