"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Soggy" got his name because Seesa would gnaw on his ears and tail when she was a baby, so he was always wet and soggy.
"Does it hurt?" asked the rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
From the time Seesa was a baby, she has not gone to sleep without Soggy Doggy. She carries him around everywhere, sharing her every moment with him. Even today at 5 years old, wherever she is, generally so is Soggy.
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept."
This Christmas, Seesa asked for another Soggy Doggy. Not a replacement, mind you. Just another one. I thought about trying to repair her Soggy by adding some stuffing to his limp body and dying his now grayish fur to a shade closer to it's original pink color. Then one night, my husband deciphered the toy maker from Soggy's very faded tag, and he miraculously found the exact stuffed dog on ebay. In keeping with the story of Soggy's emergence, my husband and Seesa took a little hike in the hills behind our house, where they "found" the new Soggy Doggy.
"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."