How Loving A Dog Can Change The World

The morning after Eko died, a woman I’ve never met walked along a beach I’ve never heard of on the other side of the world. She knelt in the sand and picked up two stones, one light and one dark. The Pounamu stones, only found in the South Island of New Zealand, are treasured by the Māori people.

The woman, Jan Roberts, is a long time reader of the blog. The treasured stones reminded her of a treasured love between a boy and his dog.

I have always poured my heart into my dogs and my writing. But I never truly understood where that love went – if it went anywhere – once I shared it with the world. As it turns out, like Pounamu stones, that love washed up on shores unknown to me.

Over the past four months I’ve finally realized just how far my love traveled. I have also been awestruck to watch that love find its way back to me. I was too lost in my grief to process the magnitude of support I received at the time, but I now have enough perspective to see the full scope of that love.

The powerful journey love takes when it emanates from our hearts and then finds its way back is perfectly captured in the Pounamu stones Jan mailed to us.

I’ve mounted the greenstones on the hook where Eko’s leash used to hang. They are a reminder that the ephemeral love we put into the world each day manifests itself in material and important ways. “Love changes the world,” is not a statement of sentiment, it’s a statement of fact.

Today I’m packing my bag for another world-changing love. The Treat Fairy (aka my sister) gets married this weekend back east. All other parties are catching a flight, so for this road trip I’ll have Miss Penny Mayhem as my co-pilot. It will be the first ride with just us – a symbolic proof that we two are once again ready to change the world.

I’ve realized you don’t get over loss, you just get on with it. Memories of love can drown you or they can keep you afloat. Each day I’m getting better at letting those memories buoy my spirit. I know seeing my sister walk down the aisle will remind me of her walking Eko down the aisle at my own wedding. I know watching Penny play with Leo reminded me of her brawling with her brother. I know for the rest of my life I will see my puppy in places familiar and unexpected.

But where I could once only see empty grief in these moments, I’m finally able to see the love surrounding them. Because the love we put into this world ripples across both space and time, changing them both for the better. Each time I am visited by Eko’s memory I am also visited by his love.

The circle begins again, as it always does. A boy and his dog hit the road in search of adventure. Filled with a love that’s traveled around the world. Eager to share that love with others, in hopes we might once again inspire those who have inspired us. Thank you again to each of you for that inspiration.

The Mayhem Express leaves first thing tomorrow morning, so we’ll catch up with everyone next week. It’s a long way between Chicago and New Jersey and I’ve no doubt we’ll have an interesting tail or two to share when we return!

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