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Beloved Tuffy

January 25, 2010

Today this post is a tribute to Tuffy.
Now, Tuffy is the class dog. He goes home with a student every Friday to spend the weekend with his or her family.
He comes in a bag with his own food dish, dog toys, leash, collar with dog tag, a small blanket and last but not least, a journal that tells of Tuffy’s adventures. Oh, I forgot to mention, he is also an oversized stuffed hand puppet. A well, worn, much loved friend.
A few weekends back we had the pleasure of hosting Tuffy in our home for a three day weekend due to the MLK holiday.

Let me tell you, this pup is one gracious guest. The first thing Solanna did after bursting through the door with yellow school bus fumes wafting behind her, was take Tuffy to one of her favorite spots in the house…

It is here that she creates some original tunes and has been known to perform today’s popular songs as well.
“Up in the club, dub… down in my dub, dub… doin’ my own little thang…” Now you may not recognize that song but Tuffy, being highly intuitive, he knew it was Beyonce. Thus began the bond between stuffed dog and friend (meaning me ’cause he didn’t have a word to say about our piano needing a little TLC. I would have told him it’s on the restoration list but he’s cool like that and does not care).

After the recital, we decided to take our guest out and about with us. Mr. Riddle needed to take care of some business in the work boot department so a trip to town it would be. Solanna and I discussed the things we could show Tuffy and with the promise of going out to eat we piled into to the family cruiser and hit the road.
Oh, the things we saw…
Ohhh…… look it’s the courthouse…

ahh, look it’s the…. oh, looks like there was a little too much excitement…

Just as well, ’cause I had no idea what this place was…

After rebooting, Solanna and Tuffy were ready to get some shopping done. Who knew shopping with a stuffed dog could be so much fun?

Uh… Solanna, I think you should keep him away from the grassy areas.

A lesson in spinning was given…

and a short break to regain equilibrium…

How this helps stop the world from spinning I don’t know, but it seemed to work for Tuffy.

Finally, time to chow…

With our tummies full, money well spent, and tired parents ready to go home we traveled north. On the way Solanna exclaimed excitedly from the back seat,”Hey, look it’s Tuffy’s home!!!”
She was right, there it was….

Solanna and Tuffy agreed that he was not ready to live there yet and he was happy to know that when he grew up, he had a home waiting for him.

The rest of the weekend was full with more introductions…

more piano playing…

and LOTS of hanging out…

Now, I have to admit that it took a little effort on my part to look past the fact that Tuffy has been in many homes, and has visited just as many public places with the other students from my daughter’s class. He is obviously shabby, and scruffy from being passed around. I wondered when the last time he had been given a bath. For the sake of not wanting to ruin a good thing I kept those thoughts tucked away and shoved them back every time my daughter cuddled him, dragged him through the house, or offered me to give him some affection.

When visiting Solanna’s class recently I spoke with her teacher and discovered exactly how many years Tuffy has been in service. With the counting of the journals from each class the answer would be twelve. And to figure in the average of home visits he’s had, I calculate at least 264 homes.
It was interesting to see how the journals changed over the years. Twelve years ago the entries were mostly short and written on one or two pages. At some point it changed to include a few photos amongst the writing and with this year’s journal every entry included a photo as well. Not to mention a possible first blog entry too! :)
We also found pictures of Solanna’s classmates in much younger days when an older sibling had taken Tuffy home. Mrs. F (I need to call this wonderful teacher something besides “her teacher”!) explained that if possible, on his first visit with a new group of students she intentionally sends him with someone who has an older sibling that took Tuffy home when he/she had been her student. This planning ensures that the journal gets started with a good entry example to follow and the former student gets to reconnect with an old friend.

Another example of great planning on her part, Mrs. F told me how she sent Tuffy home with a student that she knew would be at a school football game. I laughed with her as she told me how excited folks were to see Tuffy and how he was passed around and taken for a walk (i.e. dragged through the stones of the football stadium) on his leash. He is a popular character for sure!
Note: Tuffy does get a bath.

For me the most touching part is reconnecting. Because after hosting his visit for three days Solanna became very attached to Tuffy.
The last night was filled with many tears and talks about the reasons for having to return Tuffy to school. We said prayers to say thanks for his visit and to wish him well on his next adventures.
Still, my girl fell asleep holding on to her friend wishing that he did not have to go back…

Thoughts of hygiene were no where near my mind.

So, we wait, Solanna and her family, for the chance to see Tuffy again. Maybe at a school function, possibly a birthday party, hopefully at a moment of leisure. Despite his ragged, frayed, fur, and floppy, disheveled head, the opportunity to spend a little more time with him would be priceless.

If you made it this far in reading this post, thanks for staying with me. There was just no way I could trim this down.
I do believe Tuffy deserved the space.

Until next time,
Victoria

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jill (better known as Mrs. F!) permalink
    June 21, 2010 11:32 pm

    I had only gotten to read the condensed version of Tuffy’s adventures at the Riddle home. This is certainly better!! I am excited that Tuffy got to experience such a great time while he was visiting. Yes, he’s getting a good bath for the start of another year with kindergartners.

    • Victoria permalink*
      June 22, 2010 10:36 pm

      Ah, Mrs. F! Glad to see you found it!
      Hope Tuffy has a great year! And we hope we get the chance to see him again :)

  2. Cindi permalink
    January 25, 2010 12:34 pm

    How fortunate I feel to have met Tuffy. After reading this blog I honored. thanks Solanna for sharing.

    • Kylie (seth's mom) permalink
      March 28, 2010 7:02 pm

      we also enjoyed the company of tuffy. he is a great dog, except he somehow had an accident on seth’s bedroom floor (tell me how that happened)..lol..according to seth. victoria – you did a wonderful job on this blog!

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