“Do you know this dog’s name, Sofia?” I asked my little granddaughter. The stuffed toy I held was a little worse for wear. His original overalls had been tattered and torn and he now sported a new pair. His conductor’s hat was firmly attached to his head, though he HAD lost one ear. Yes, Casey dog had traveled the world in his 34 years…..
‘When your mom was a baby, just about the size of Mariana, her father, your Dyedushka, brought Casey home. You see, Casey lived in a store. He always wanted a family and when Dyedushka picked him up, tucked him under his arm, and paid for him, Casey was excited. Dyedushka brought him home and laid him next to your mom on her blanket.
Casey lived in your mom’s crib and then later on her bed all the while she grew up. Then one day your mom began to pack for a journey far away. She put her special things in a trunk to store while she was gone. Casey was one of those special things, and as she picked him up and gently tucked him in the trunk, he wondered where he was going.
For five years Casey waited. He wondered if Noel had forgotten about him…if anyone remembered him anymore. Meanwhile, Noel was learning Russian and living far away on the other side of the globe.
One day, she met a handsome man, named Maksim (your father). They fell in love and soon they were married…the American girl and the Russian man. They were happy and hoped for children of their own. Soon, they found they were going to have a baby.
Meanwhile, Casey waited. Didn’t anyone notice he was gone? Would he EVER get out of this trunk?
One special day, Noel and Maksim welcomed a little girl into the world. They named her Sofia (that’s you). As she held her little girl in her arms, Noel thought of Casey dog and how much she wished she could give him to Sofia as Dyedushka had given him to HER. She wondered if, somehow, Casey could come to Russia.
Plans were being made for Sofia’s American Baboushka to come for a visit and Noel thought about how great it would be if Casey dog could make the trip too. She gave Baboushka directions on where Casey dog was.
Casey heard the lock being turned. Was it really true? Were they coming to get him? He KNEW they wouldn’t forget!
Gently Baboushka lifted him out of the trunk. His clothes were tattered. After all, he was 29 years old! Some of his stuffing was escaping from his ripped seams. As the days passed in preparation for the trip to Russia, Baboushka and her daughter Caroline worked on Casey dog. They sewed new overalls for him. They stitched his ripped seams. He began to feel young again!
And then the day came when Casey was placed in a suitcase and began the long flight from Los Angeles to Khabarovsk. It seemed the flight would never end. Casey could hardly believe he would soon be with Noel again. He felt the plane settling down for a landing, then felt the bumping of the bags being unloaded. Brrrr…it seemed awfully cold.
Before he knew it, Casey dog felt the suitcase being rolled across a floor and heard the voices of Noel and Baboushka, along with a new voice.
“That must be the husband, Maksim,” he thought.
Everyone climbed in a car and the bags were loaded in the trunk as the long ride home began.
“Will I ever see my Noel?” thought Casey. He floated off to sleep. It had been a long trip.
After a couple of hours Casey knew they must be home. Car doors were opened, and again the bags were moved….this time they were carried inside. Casey could hardly contain himself! Soon! Surely soon they’d open the suitcases! And then it happened. Casey heard the zipper being pulled and a hand reached in and picked him up. He tried to look calm and collected, but he just KNEW he HAD to have a peek at his girl.
There she was, his Noel, the one who had snuggled him as a little girl and whom he had watched grow into a beautiful young woman. And here she was, picking him up, gently looking him over and then, ever so gently placing him in a crib with a new little girl—- HER little girl. He had another little girl to take care of! She hadn’t forgotten! He looked at this new baby and smiled as she snuggled up next to him. This was where HE belonged.’
“And so Sofia, even though you left a lot of things in Russia, Casey dog came back to America with you. He’s 35 years old now, but he needed to be with you, and your mom, and now with little Mariana. He’s come a long way since that day when Dyedushka picked him up from the store shelf…around the world and back!”
Casey dog’s heart swelled as he listened to Baboushka tell his story….no, they hadn’t forgotten and HE wouldn’t either. No matter how far he had to travel, he’d always be here for his girls.