Gina writes:

Dear Sophie,

I miss you. I miss cuddling with you in bed and on the couch. I miss seeing your tail wag so hard your butt moves back and forth and you fall over. I miss you sensing when I'm sad or upset and coming to comfort me. I miss seeing you inhale your food and then ask for more. I miss watching you toss your toys in the air and catch them. I miss laughing at your tongue and ears flapping in the wind.

Two years without you is a long time, so I've had to find a replacement. He's not nearly as good as you, but he's fun and he's loyal. His name is Sango, which means friend in Oriya. He lives outside near the SOVA office. We've taught him how to sit and roll over.

He's dirty and sometimes he's caked in mud or stinks like cowsh**. He's one of the most well-fed street dogs we've seen, since he gets scraps from people's lunch plates, including chicken and mutton bones (his favorite). Usually, he's inside the office gates when we arrive at 9:30ish and runs up to us when we get out of the vehicle. He hangs around in his two or three favorite shade spots until about 4 p.m., when he saunters off with his pack to have fun in the wild. I give him water during the day if its really hot; otherwise he drinks standing algae water or eats the dirt from the potted plants after they've been watered.

One time he walked almost all the way home with us, until he reached the invisible boundary of his territory, when he stopped and refused to come farther. I hate to think what our landlord would have said if we brought him home with us!

We spent a long time observing him and making sure he was safe and friendly before touching him. Now he totally trusts us and rolls over on his back to get a good scratchin' whenever we come over.

He's not you, but he'll do.