I am no stranger to the hunt for lost toys. In fact, the hunt for lost toys? We go way back.
I almost look forward to the challenge, the sport, the test of mettle. I like using my mad skillz to make sympathy-inspiring posters. I will help anyone, any time, above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to prodigal buddies.
But even better, when toys are re-united, and it feels so good (couldn't resist), well, let's just say it's nice to know that all is right with the world sometimes. I was also happy to see after Baby Rat's Christmas Day homecoming that Josephine is willing to still love something that isn't perfect any longer. Baby Rat is doing well, in a Frankenrat kind of way.
So, this past Tuesday, when Josephine and I were at Riverdale Farm, and I spotted something furry face down in a pile of dried leaves, and realized it wasn't roadkill, I didn't hesitate to pick it up. As busy as I am these days, I couldn't leave him there (um...somehow to Josie it's become a him - the name on his Gund tag says Snowflake) (Toy companies should stop naming stuffed animals so that kids can have fun using their imaginations - otherwise we wouldn't have Dirty Teddy and Baby Naked Farty and Episode around our house, adding charm and colour to our lives).
Josephine dubbed him "Dirty Teddy". I wrapped him in every napkin I had on me, and told her NOT TO TOUCH HIM. This is another lesson she learned well, because as she's told everyone she's come across for the past two days "We found a wost teddy bear, but I couldn't touch him because he maybe had poopies on him."
And so, after a day of Spa-like services, starting with a bleach and laundry soap hot-tub soak, an Oxi Clean facial, a stiff bristle all over body scrub, two spins through the heavily soiled cycle, extra rinses, and then dried until every last germ and dust mite screamed for mercy before giving it up from death by heat, I give you: Dirty Teddy!
He is such a lovely little guy. Josie and I have had so many discussions about lost toys, and how it feels to lose and then have them returned, and how we shall try very hard - not just a little bit - to find his former owner. Somehow Josie has convinced herself that it's a little boy who doesn't want him any more, and so she is hoping that we don't find the person Dirty Teddy really belongs to. As adorable as this is:
I have to remember how it felt for us, and keep trying. And you know, why does she like the formerly poop-covered bear who was growing moss more than any toy I've ever bought her right now? To further dispel any doubts, if I was wavering, and I was wavering (because who needs extra work, right?), I just got a call from Josie's daycare. Josie's stuffed Clarice had been left on the playground overnight, and someone returned it this morning. Now, Steve picked Josephine up from daycare yesterday, and I knew they didn't bring Clarice home - but I didn't know she was lost, I just thought she was hanging out in Josie's basket for the night. So, yes, the made me think maybe the Karma Police were tap tap tapping me on the shoulder this morning. Bad bad bad wavering.
I'm just about to go and make a poster for Dirty Teddy, and we'll put it up around the park and at the Farm on Saturday morning. I'll put ads on Craigslist and Kijiji later today. Maybe I'll do a classified in the local paper that gets tossed on the porch on a Saturday morning, but I think I can be forgiven if I don't do one in the Star or the other nationally circulated newspapers, right? How far does one go to return something that's obviously been gone a season or two? For now, just in case this helps anyone today, I'll mention that he was found at the top of the hill in a pile of leaves near a clump of trees, right at the foot of Geneva Ave.
How could I not help this guy?
This, however, is a different story:
I've passed it yesterday and today, and still, there it sits on this fire-hydrant near the corner of Colgate and Logan, taunting me. Now, I'm sure somebody really likes this Cabbage Patch Kid in her hand-knit outfit - maybe even adores her more than Dirty Teddy's long-lost owner loves and misses him - but she is not working my sympathy and empathy like Dirty Teddy can. She is the paint-by-numbers to his big-eyed velvet painting. She is the Breyers to his Ben and Jerry's. She's Doghouse Roses to his Hallmark bouquet. Okay, you get it.
So, this is still doing something. Maybe I'll post an ad about her in our neighbourhood Yahoo group or make a small flyer. But I really don't want to take her home, give her a spa day and waste time making a poster for her too (not to mention the expensive printer ink); and I would dread that Josie might grow attached to her too. Is that so wrong?
Karma Police, are you testing me? Is this what I get when I mess with you? Because really - it was just for a minute there with Dirty Teddy that I lost myself.