stuffed_dogWhen my daughter was little, her lovie was a brown dog she called Puppa that went EVERYWHERE with her. I lived in constant fear of her losing it, knowing it that was truly irreplaceable. We even bought Puppa look-alikes from time to time, hoping she might at least develop a second favorite in the event Puppa somehow disappeared. No dice.

When it came time for a family holiday, there was always a dilemma: Do we let her take Puppa along and keep an eagle eye on him? Or should he stay behind to greet her upon our return home?

My preference was the stay-home-and-greet-her option. Again, no dice. She simply wasn’t interested in traveling if it meant traveling without Puppa. We ultimately arrived at a compromise: She could take Puppa on the family holiday, but he was required to stay in the hotel room while we did the touristy stuff.


This worked mostly because there was similar rule for Puppa at home. He was allowed to travel with us in the car as far as our destination, but he couldn’t go inside. The point, of course, was to ensure that if Puppa got lost, he likely was lost somewhere in the car, rather than somewhere in the shopping mall. So Puppa would dutifully wait for us in the car, where she would joyfully greet him as though they had been apart for days rather than minutes.

Of course, she promptly forgot the deal the minute we checked into our first hotel. What if Puppa gets scared in a place he’s never been? What if the maid comes in and takes him? What if… I was shocked by the array of “what ifs” a 4-year-old could conjure up.

After much discussion, we agreed to put Puppa to bed in one of the dresser drawers, complete with blanket and pillow, so he could be safe and secure no matter who came into the room.

I was reminded of that moment after I watched “Open Season 3” and laughed at Boog’s belief that the guys’ trip was a “sacred trust” that Elliot was breaking by choosing instead to tend to his family obligations.

Caring for Puppa was certainly a sacred trust, one that my daughter took every bit as seriously as I did. To this day, Puppa lives in a dresser drawer in her room. I doubt she ever takes him out any more now that she’s a wise and worldly 14-year-old. But sometimes, when I’m putting things away in her room (or trying to retrieve a piece of my clothing that she has “borrowed” and never returned), I run across Puppa and take him out for a quick cuddle.

Sony’s Open Season 3 will be released on DVD Jan. 25. I able to review the movie early for this post. We’ll be talking about sweet family travel memories and giving away prizes during our Jan. 24 TravelingMom Monday Twitter party. If you’d like a chance to win, please click here to get the details on how to enter. And, if you’ve still got little ones, they can get a taste of the Open Season characters Boog and his friends with online games Cannonball and Jamboree.