I’ve already written about how I lost my Pound Puppy (named Pound Puppy) as a teen and replaced him with another stuffed dog last year. Today, as I’ve recently been contemplating carrying my new stuffed dog to stressful dentist appointments, some memories of past public carrying have surfaced and are ready to be written about.
The memory that first surfaced and caused me to think about carrying my new plush dog around is one of going to the doctor and hiding my face in my dog’s back as I got my shots. Based on what little else I can remember plus the CDC schedule from back then, I’m pretty sure I was 6 years old.
I hate getting shots and blood draws. I’m terrified of needles and have been for as long as I can remember. But that one time when I remembered to bring my Pound Puppy and held him closely during, they were really not a big deal at all. I managed so much better that time vs all the other times I remember without him, which were horrible.
Even as a teen, I struggled with the poky parts of seeing the doctor. Blood draws caused me to pass out, even just finger pricks. This was true regardless of whether I was anemic or not.
The other thing that I remember my Pound Puppy helping me in very tangible ways with in public was in shopping places – particularly the mall. I could hold my puppy tightly, often under my shirt, and manage better with the bright lights, people everywhere, displays that were overwhelming in their sameness all clustered together.
I don’t remember why I stopped carrying him around with me everywhere in public or how old I was. I’m thinking that I was probably 6 when I stopped, but I’m not certain. I don’t think I ever brought him to 1st grade, although it would have helped me a great deal, I’m sure, if I had. First grade was a miserable school year for me.
On twitter I asked this past week for stories of Autistic people who’ve carried stuffed animals/stuffies/plush animals in public as adults because I think it would really help in some situations, but I’m nervous because it’s an unknown thing for me. People can be awful, which is to be expected, but I’m considering this partially because right now I don’t have the energy to deal with much. This includes, maybe especially, other people’s questions or rudeness about something that I’m not sure I can readily explain in spoken words.
People’s shared experiences carrying plushies as adults have been extremely varied so far – some are encouraging and others are worrisome. I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do about this decision, but I have some time to think about it and even practice ahead of time if I want to. I’ll need to think up a good script to use too so that I’m not using extra energy if people ask questions.
This is one of those things that makes me nervous and that I wish didn’t because it shouldn’t be a weird thing to carry something comforting around no matter what age someone is. It’s something that I’d like to help normalize if I can handle it and if it would be helpful for me.