I open the package and even before I take off the vacuum-sealed bag, I can tell that this second puppy will never pass as the real stuffed Roczen. As a type-A planner, I buy a back-up before I even need it, for the potential dreadful day that he might get lost. But more so, I relish the day I will get to gift her this new fluffy puppy when she has her first baby of her own.

I place them side by side and it is quite humorous. OG Roczen’s hair is completely matted and the white fur is more of a gray brown. The beard hair is supposed to be fluffy but it has no softness to it at all. His eyes are scraped badly and there is a tiny bundle of hairs on the side of one cheek that are permanently straight. I catch Hazel twirling this tiny spot between her two fingers anytime she is holding him during a calm moment. He is her comfort and companion. They are ride-and-die friends in car rides and playgrounds and everything in-between. And until just recently, it was the end of the world when he needed a “bath” in the washer. Today though, she came running down the stairs dramatically lamented about the chocolate she had gotten on Roczen just a few seconds ago and how he desperately needed a bath right away. Which is how I am even holding him, next to his much younger and cleaner twin, since Roczen is always always by her side at night.

I store the new puppy in a container for future keeping and place little Roczen at the foot of her door. A happy delightful surprise when she wakes up. But let’s be honest, even if I didn’t do that, it would be the first thing she would ask for in the morning: Puppy Roczen.