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Who Will Hug Them After I’m Gone?

On 11, Dec 2013 | In Ask The Intern!, News | By The S.A.R.F.

My advice is not intended to replace a professional stuffed animal doctor’s opinion, nor should it be used to diagnose or treat any stuffed animal disease or ailment without professional supervision. Do you have a question for me? Email me at


I have a stuffed animal family that consists of 4 boys and 2 girls (they are puppies and bears), and they mean the world to me. I realize that even though I am aging physically, my stuffed animal kids aren’t, and it is certain that they will outlive me. But unlike human children who grow up and learn to take care of themselves, stuffed animals need human beings to care for them. I just can’t help but worry about my stuffed animals, as I do not have children and will not have children in the future, and I cannot think of a person that I know who will take care of my stuffed animal kids. And of course there is the question of timing– not everyone knows when the end will come exactly. So I would like your thoughts on what I can do, or how I can arrange a comfortable lifestyle for my stuffed animal kids when I pass away one day. Anything will help… I am just sick of not knowing what to do after so many years of thinking about this!


Your question is an important one, and it is quite complex.

Stuffed animals can be considered lifelong companions, confidants, warmth providers, or even best friends- but unfortunately one important role is often overlooked: SAs are also your dependents.* And unlike cases involving living dependents, prior arrangements are rarely made for the care of stuffed dependents in the event of a guardian’s passing.

Despite their inability to communicate their needs (or to vocally communicate at all), it is still important that one’s SAs are passed on to loving homes where they can continue to enrich the lives of human caretakers.

Whenever possible, we recommend appointing a willing and reliable person to inherit legal guardianship of your SAs, much like some parents choose a ‘godmother’ or ‘godfather’ for their living dependents. This person will often develop a special relationship with the living or SA dependent, thus easing the transition if the [unfortunate] transfer of care were to occur.

If you do not have a close friend or relative you trust to care for your SAs, you might consider seeking out an organization that provides stuffed friends to children in need. Some hospitals and family shelters provide these services, and the relationships that develop are often mutually beneficial.

Making arrangements with The SARF is also possible in certain cases. If your SA does qualify, you must designate someone you trust to make arrangements for his or her travel to SARF headquarters. Contact us via email if you’d like more information on this option.

The final option would be to set up a trust for your SAs, just as some do for their living pets. You would set aside money for housing and for a caretaker to see to it that they are healthy and well-groomed. However, we do not recommend this. As you know, SAs are happiest when around loving humans and when given the opportunity to hug and be hugged. Also, due to the unpredictable but typically quite lengthy lifespan of most SAs (especially when not held or played with), it is unlikely that you could afford to keep your SAs housed for the entirety of their (albeit inanimate) lives.

Regardless of which path you choose, there a few details to consider when making any arrangements:

1. Does the SA require any special care or specific items to help him or her safely and comfortably continue on without you (extra clothing, favorite stuffed companions, important accessories, updated resumes or transcripts, documentation of naturalized or synthetic status, list of any filling allergies in case emergency injection is ever required)?

Create a list of these and make sure they are easily accessible in the case
of an emergency.

2. Does the SA have any persistent conditions that might lead to declining health without medical intervention?

Conditions may include:
-herniated stuffing
-weakened joints that may require surgery (such as hip or knee stitching replacement)
-vertigo due to inner beanbag imbalance
-acute vision loss due to missing eyes
– attachment disorders including (partial or total) separation of hats, scarves, branded accessories, or in severe cases mouths, noses or whole limbs.
-Increased immobility (beyond typical SA immobility)

If you answered yes to any of the above, you must consider whether each applicable condition is severe enough to make the SA less desirable to potential adopters. If deemed so, the ailment(s) should be corrected as soon as possible to insure that the SA is mentally and physically prepared to face the already-stressful challenges of changes in living environment or guardianship.

Thank you for your question. I hope my advice helped.

The Intern

*SAs cannot legally be claimed as dependents for tax purposes
**This especially difficult to diagnose in SAs because of their natural speech inabilities.

Thank you for your question. I hope my advice helped.

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