I can’t remember when he (though how I knew it was I “he” I’ll never know) came into my life. I must have been very little, because Yellowdog was an integral part of childhood for as long as I can remember. In fact, he grew up with me, morphed from “blankie” (dragged after me everywhere I went by one ear), to toy, to bed adornment, (snuggled among the more reputable looking dolls, which I admired, but with which I seldom played) to pillow while I lay on my black fuzzy rug reading homework. I finally left him behind when I got my first job and moved to Chicago, but only because I couldn’t make even his soft, lumpy body fit into one of the 2 suitcases I could take on the plane, and my mother absolutely refused to spend postage on him to send him to me. I lost track of him, and suspect he went to toy heaven, where all good toys go.
As his name suggests, he was yellow, well, sort of, though he had a tinge of orange, too, that made him look anything but lifelike. He was made lying down, and there was no way he could stand, though I sometimes made a project of trying. He had a black nose and eyes, and long floppy ears that did duty as leashes more than once. By my teen years, he was thoroughly disreputable, with fur that stuck up in some places, was sticky finger matted in others, and rubbed into nonexistence in others. His ears were ragged around the edges, and one had tooth marks in it, because my flesh and blood dog missed me so much once when I was at camp she chewed on him for comfort. I never chewed him, but when things got tough, I’d curl up around him, wrap my arms around tight enough to throttle any breath there ever might have been in him, and add to the dishabille of his poor coat with copious tears.
Yellowdog was many things, though I doubt he could have been considered “pretty” even when on a store shelf somewhere. He was ungainly, big, squishy, lumpy, and soft. Mostly, though he was very dearly loved, and the only one to know each and every secret thought I ever had.