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Sibling wars and puppy love

What makes siblings taunt, tease or get physical with each other? Are we born that way? Survival of the fittest in the pack? Birth order, perhaps?

Everyone with sibs has a story of this family behavior. Most of those memories fade. My younger brothers’ stories of “long ago” get embellished. To this day, my brother John swears I chased all four of the young brothers around the yard with bug spray. I know it wasn’t bug spray, but it might have been hair spray. Maybe I just told them it was bug spray because they were bugging me! I was a teenager after all, now leave me alone. Guilty as charged!

It was my older brother Jim who exacted what I thought was torture the day he snuck into my bedroom and took my beloved Snoozy. This black, furry, stuffed toy had a nose that squeaked and was sent from Kentucky to California by my favorite aunt and uncle. He was all mine. He quickly became my sleep-time confidant. Never sleeping without him, I would cradle him under my arm and whisper my secrets or any perceived wrongs I had suffered that day.

Then the day came when I could not find my puppy love. Where could he be? He had a place of honor on my bed. Every night he was there, waiting for me at bedtime. I was frantic! I searched, but no Snoozy.

I was sitting on my bed, perplexed, pouting and feeling very sorry for my sad 6-year-old self. In wandered Jim. Looking devilish, he dangled my best buddy in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other. He fiendishly asked, “Don’t you think Snoozy needs a haircut?”

I screamed with all my little-girl might, “Give me back my puppy,” I made a leap for Snoozy and missed. Jim, being five years older, had the height advantage.

“Snip, snip, snip” he threatened. The scissors were dangerously close to that soft, black fuzz. Then I started to cry. Big tears rolled down my cheeks. I was into the really ugly cry when he tossed Snoozy onto my bed.

“Here, you big baby! Take your stupid dog.”

I held Snoozy tight. I whispered that my big brother was a big dope. Soon I drifted off, gripping Snoozy in my arms.

That night I dreamed of ways to get even with my brother. Somewhere along the way of life, I know I exacted revenge. I can’t remember what it was, but I bet he does.

Snoozy continued to be important in my life. Eventually his nose stopped squeaking, and his fur became threadbare and one eye popped off. Snoozy lived about 10 years — or 70 in dog years. He retired to that special place where loved toys go after they have served their purpose on Earth.

Every child deserves a Snoozy in their life — a puppy love, a first love.

Patti Busse lives in Ashland.