These stuffed puppies and teddy bears are easy to put together and make great take-alongs to keep busy while waiting for this and that. The bodies would remain unstuffed through the year until the week after Thanksgiving. Facial features and other details were added during the first few weeks of December. An easy task while watching TV, and easy to deliver. Well, easy to do; check. Easy to deliver; different story. This was my first Christmas in NC and I was but a five-month resident in 1990. It was a snap to locate our little six-man police station and I happily arrived at around four p.m. on the 23rd of December with my holiday box of 27 puppies and teddy bears.
The policeman on duty was probably in his 40s and listened kindly to my story and, yet, he had no idea what I was doing there or what I was talking about. Nobody had ever brought stuffed toys to his station in all the years he'd been there. What did I expect him to do? He was sorry but there just wasn't anything to be done.
Well, did he know of any place where I could take the toys, myself, for distribution? I explained that I was very new in town and wasn't familiar enough with the roads to chance driving around on icy streets whilst looking at street signs. There was absolutely nothing going on in the station. He looked helpless and we just sort of stared at each other, hoping either of us would come up with a solution. I even looked down at the puppies and teddies, hoping they had a solution. We were all brain dead -- nothing but empty air and disappointment.
I thanked him, donned my scarf and coat, drew on my mittens and picked up the box of puppies and teddy bears, turned and began the long walk towards the door. (It was really only a few feet but my heavy heart just wasn't in the mood for light stepping.) The phone rang and within a few seconds, I heard, "Hey, wait, lady! Don't go!" The officer signaled that he had to finish the call but he didn't want me to leave.
"You'll never guess who that was," he said.
"I can't imagine."
"That was __________ Hospital -- the head nurse from the children's floor. The local charity had come by with their annual gifts for the patients but, somehow, the children's box couldn't be found. They were desperate. There was nothing for the children on her floor. They had called all the charities they could think of but everything had been distributed and they needed at least 27 toys for the children... 27 toys for the children... wasn't there something, some place, someone, he knew that might be able to help at this late date?"
We stared at each other because we couldn't speak. Something bigger than either of us had entered the room and answered our prayers. My 27 little calico puppies and teddy bears would have someone to love them on Christmas morning, after all.
If you would like to fill your empty time with making stuffed puppies and teddy bears, either buy a simple pattern with just a few parts for a true 3-dimentional look or get a child's coloring book that gives you a nice dark outline of a full side view of a puppy or face view of the teddy. I've included simple drawings here that you can print out on 8.5"x11" paper.
The puppies are welcomed at all drop-off centers but only teddy bears are accepted by Emergency Medical Services. They like to keep the teddy bears on their ambulances to give to children after an accident. Check with your local ambulance service. You can also make them patchwork, using material scraps. Find an easy stuffed teddy or dog pattern and either make your patchwork* first, lay pattern pieces down, cut out and sew -- or, if the pattern has separate body pieces, use a different material for each section, keeping the smallest prints for the face, since you'll be adding eyes, nose, and mouth details.
*These are small stuffed animals. Keep patchworking small so that it doesn't overwhelm the toy!
* Cotton fabric (calico, gingham, broadcloth, denim, etc.): For patchwork puppy, when using a pattern for the body parts, four or more different fabric scraps; For one-color puppy, 44" wide, 3/4 yard.
* Satin ribbon, 1/2" wide, 1 yard.
* Black shank buttons (for eyes), 1/2", two.
* Black animal nose, 21mm. (Optional: Black embroidery floss.)
* Fiberfill stuffing, 16 oz.
* Needle. Thread in matching colors. Straight pins. Scissors. Iron.
* Tracing paper. Pencil.
(Note: Sew with 1/4" seams and right sides facing throughout. Leave 1.5" opening for stuffing. Turn right side out; stuff gently easing toward seams, stitch, opening, and add facial details and ribbon!