Hi-Line poll reveals 88.5 percent of students still have stuffed animals

In trying times, many find comfort in family and friends, both new and old, but not always human. 

A Hi-Line survey of 87 students showed that 88.5 percent still have stuffed animals. On top of that, a little under half (46 percent) of students said that they still sleep with these stuffed animals.

“I do have stuffed animals. I have them near me when I sleep,” junior Amor Barron said. “I keep them because they make me feel comfy and soft if that makes sense.”

Sophomore Todd Engle also has stuffed animals, but said, “I do not sleep with them anymore. I received them from my friends and family, and I kept them because they were gifts from my loved ones.” 

Sophomore Leiana Gill also owned up to quite a few stuffed critter friends that she cuddles with “every night for the most part.” She said they came “mostly my mother or grandmother, and they “had sentimental value to me. It’s not so much the stuffed animal itself. It’s who gave them to me and how much I care about those people and how much they care about me,” Gill said. 

“The oldest one I have I got it when I was around one and we had taken a trip up to Minnesota to visit some family. There was this department store that sold a lot of different items and merchandise, and they had a stuffed animal section. Now, I had been attracted to a specific tan dog, and so, of course, being one, I pointed at it and whined until my father eventually caved and bought it for me. I have it to this day, and to me it’s one of my most valuable items.”

Many participants in the Hi-Line survey noted that their stuffed animals were gifts, and many also noted that these fuzzy friends assisted them through hard times, including parental divorces, deaths and other traumas left unstated. One unnamed survey respondent said the attachment is, “Nostalgia. Also, I don’t know why, but I tend to in my mind make them sentient in a way; I would feel awful if I’d abandoned them. It happens with a lot of inanimate objects.” 

Though 11.5% of respondents to the poll noted that they did not keep their stuffed animals after the “normal” age, another student in the poll said, “Stuffed animals helped me in a time of stress. It may seem dumb, but they really do make you feel safe. They helped me through past traumas and the traumas that 2020 has brought onto me. They make me feel protected and calm when I am overwhelmed. They were my friends when I had none, and they really helped me flourish as a person.”

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