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Why We Are Doing This

(or The Benefits of Stuffed Animal Companionship)

Hi! This is Christy, Nutmeg and Binky's human assistant and Human-Plushie Liaison. The bunnies kindly allowed me to do the writing on this page, feeling that a non-plushie perspective might make this wacky operation more relatable to other humans. I think they especially had in mind those grown-up humans who might be a bit hesitant about committing to the amount of play and imagination that is going on here. After all, there are plenty of straightforward stores selling plush animals and other soft toys. Isn't this adoption agency thing going a bit too far? Wouldn't it generally be considered childish? Perhaps it would, by some, but I think those people are missing out.

Stuffed animals play a variety of important roles in my life, and though I do on some level acknowledge that they don't live and breathe (I covered Nutmeg and Binky's ears at that part), all that means is that I don't worry about suffocating them under the blankets at night. I do worry about their physical comfort and emotional wellbeing, and over the years, I have trained myself to sleep without pushing anyone out of bed, and to leave each animal with someone else for company when I'm not around. I notice them aging with a bittersweet feeling in my heart, despairing over the loss of of fluffiness but knowing that they look well-loved for a very good reason. If anyone threatened harm to one of them, that person would have a lot of explaining to do in order to regain my trust.

My one concession to adulthood is that I no longer follow a strict rotation dictating which animal sleeps with me each night. And I suppose I stopped carrying them around with me so openly once it became important to me to seem mature and cool. It was many years after middle school before I realized that authenticity was much more compelling than fitting in, and ever since then, I've been working towards letting my true self shine.

My true self is the one who melts into a puddle when an adorable fuzzy face looks at me from a shop window or jumps off a shelf into my arms. The one who notices the man waiting at the bus stop with a stuffed elephant in his arms and feels an immediate kinship with him, though I know nothing about him. The one who brings a bunny on the plane because it's friendly to have someone soft to hug, and because it brings me joy to look at her cute nose and her eyes that are almost hidden by fur.

I sleep better with my arms wrapped around Sophie the sloth, and I cry better with my face pressed into the surprisingly soft fur of Penelope the Very Large Rhino. (I'm always careful to shield her from snot!) I have laughed until I couldn't breathe at the antics of my husband and Kumquat the slightly confused squirrel, and I've introduced my husband to Chipmunk's alter egos, which were discovered by my brother and me at a rather young age. I even gave a stuffed animal (a salmon puppet) to my uncle after he had surgery, and was rewarded years later by a very gargly rendition of Happy Birthday, sung by Spoticus.

Stuffed animals spark joy and laughter. They comfort us and listen to our troubles, asking very little in return. And they bring people together - even people who don't speak the same language or who come from vastly different backgrounds. Cuteness leaps right over barriers to human connection, and though it may seem like a small thing, every smile between strangers is a step towards a kinder world.

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