When we were growing up, we all had our personal collection of stuffed animals that we’d never part from when bedtime came. But out of all of them, there was always that one cuddly toy that was our favorite. You know the one. Odds are, you probably still have it. But some people are unlucky to have lost theirs.

Vittoria Gallagher shared the story of how she lost her favorite stuffed dog Crackers 18 years ago and rediscovered him lying dirty on the street by accident. Well, she brought him home and washed him. Who wouldn’t? After all, it’s your childhood toy that magically appeared in front of you!

But it turns out that the doggo she found wasn’t Crackers at all. It was… an imposter! [Cue lightning and thunder.]

More info: Twitter | Facebook

Vittoria Gallagher told the riveting story of how she found her long-lost toy dog in the street… or was it really her dog?

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It should come as no surprise that Vittoria’s hilarious and heartwarming story, combined with her witty prose, made her Twitter thread go viral with over 13,100 likes and 2,700 retweets. The wholesome thing is, Vittoria inspired a lot of people to share photos of their beloved stuffed toys and tell their stories.

It’s completely natural for kids to sleep with stuffed animals. But as we grow up, some of us have a hard time telling our best buddies, our guardians-against-nightmares that it’s time for them to leave our beds (but that they’ll still stay in our hearts).

Therapist Margaret Van Ackeren told Bored Panda that adults sleep with childhood stuffed animals because it brings them a sense of calm and reduces loneliness, as well as anxiety. “Sleeping with childhood stuffed animals as an adult is considered healthy, as long as it is not interfering with various areas of life such as social, occupational, psychological, and relational functioning,” she said.

“If the behavior is causing a problem in any of these areas, then it is worth looking into and putting effort into resolving.”

According to Van Ackeren, sleeping with stuffed toys may put a “strain” on adult relationships. Especially if your partner feels “neglected or second to the stuffed animal.”

If that’s the case, you’ve got to talk to your significant other and try to work something out. Therapy might be useful for some people if they have a hard time letting go.

In Van Ackeren’s opinion, people who want to get some distance from their stuffed animals can try replacing them with their partner’s love and affection. In other words, instead of hugging your teddy, you could try cuddling up to your loved one.

Breaking up with your teddy

We should only think about hiding our cuddly toys if keeping them around gets in the way of our lives. For example, if it damages your romantic relationship with your partner or if you avoid traveling because you can’t bring your stuffed warthog or cuddly armadillo with you, then it’s time to think about moving on.

According to Well and Good, there is a certain… process to breaking up with your teddy. Like changing your diet or quitting a bad habit, going cold turkey isn’t the way to go for some people. For them, it’s better to take things slowly. Step. By. Step.

For instance, let’s say you decided that your stuffed panda is stopping you from being a super-serious and responsible adult. Well, the first thing you should do is move your childhood friend from your bed onto your nightstand. Easy, right? I mean, it’s right there next to you.

The second step is putting your friend, who’s stood by you all these years and always supported you no matter what, on top of your dresser or on the window sill.

The last step is the hardest. Take your teddy (who will always love you unconditionally and will understand you better than most people ever will) and put it out of sight in a closet or under the bed. Wow, that was harder than it seemed.

Dear Pandas, what’s your favorite stuffed animal? What’s its name and how long have you had it for? Do you still sleep with it every night?

Twitter users adored Vittoria’s story about Crackers the dog and his imposter

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