I didn’t think of it this way until a friend named it such. The little toy dog that sits on a shelf in my bathroom, I mean. But it is. A touchstone.

It belonged to my six-year-old foster daughter. It was part of one of those sets of tiny toys that come in their own carrying case that doubles as a little house. You know what I mean. This was a dog set, and we gave it to her for her sixth birthday. There was a mama dog and lots of babies and the case opened up into a little dog house with beds and dog toys and such. Anyway, I found this little toy baby dog under her bed after she left.

I found it in the evening of the day she left. Still raw and sad and tired from crying, I was cleaning her room a bit and found the puppy, along with a stash of toys and things she had “borrowed” from the boys’ rooms. Anyway, the puppy was there under her bed … battered a bit, missing one eye and a fair bit of its brown fur.

I set wee puppy on a shelf in my bathroom. A physical reminder of her and the others with whom we spent a little time. When I see it I think of her and of them, wonder about them, love them in my heart, and whisper a prayer for them.

Ah, baby girl and others. God keep you safe.