A Happy Christmas Tail

My dog Stanley has long had one favorite toy.

Despite a large wooden toy box overflowing with bones, balls, and chewy playthings of all shapes and sizes, from the time he was a tiny puppy he has always gravitated to a simple, squeaky, blue barbell. It has been his forever go-to toy in times of playful happiness and when he trembles with fear at the sound of thunder and fireworks.

Without his familiar toy, he was as blue as the barbell.

Vintage private photo

1959 The author and her Teddy the Tiger. Teddy the Tiger today

Stanleys attachment to this singular beloved object is not unlike the one I had with a raggedy, stuffed tiger named Teddy that I clung to as a child. Among my huge collection of stuffed dogs, kittens, lambs, and bears, this striped tiger was my very favorite.  I would be inconsolable if Teddy was lost.

I schlepped, slept, and hung onto this threadbare toy animal for years, his torn seams sewn and re-sewn by my mother with the eye of a surgeon, if not the skills. His little tail hanging by a thread had been re-attached more times than I could count.

But it was the restoration of Teddy’s little nose and mouth that meant the most to me. His quirky smile sweetly zigzagging in blue thread was lovingly recreated by my normally sewing-challenged mother.

Seeing Teddy brought back to life made me smile in delight. Today,  I’ve no doubt that she chose blue thread, her favorite color so that I might also think of her smiling at me every time I looked at Teddy. I certainly do now.

A Boys Best Friend

Stan’s barbell has miraculously survived 12 years of serious retriever chewing where other toys have simply perished. He made a mockery of chew-resistant toys, and puffs of plush animal stuffing could be found scattered all over the house, the poor toy never standing a chance of more than a few minutes under Stanley’s grip.


But several months ago this favorite toy mysteriously disappeared. I was certain it was packed in the move to our new home. Searching frantically high and low, in nooks and crannies, indoors and out it was nowhere to be found.

I plied him with once favorite Nyla bones to no avail, balls large and small held no interest, frisbees got just a mere whiff of attention. New toys garnered little attention. Even the highly touted WobbleWag Giggle Ball that dog lovers swear by, barely bought a guffaw from my forlorn pup.

But Sunday morning like a miracle it appeared like a vision. Suddenly, deep under a shelf in my office obscured by boxes, I spied a bit of blue.

And just like that…the blue barbell appeared.

An early Christmas present for Stanley.

And for me.

When Stanley is happy so am I. Just like my mother was.

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.



  1. Beautiful stories. Thank you for sharing. Happy Holidays, Sally.


  2. This is so sweet and sentimental. Sad to think, kids these days are at earlier and earlier ages more attached to their first video game or smart phone than a stuffed animal. I will always remember the plush panda that never left my hands for many years. Why did I not keep him??

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sally, a blue barbell. A dog who lifts weights. I am impressed. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy days for Stanley!

    Liked by 1 person

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