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January 25, 2017

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 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!

Comments for How Loving A Dog Can Change The World

  1. Very exciting revelation FOR you relative to grief, and a promise of some fun road trip notes FROM you. I think you and Penny will have an epic journey….one of many to come. I know the journey back from the pain of loss takes us to places that are dark and lonely but on the other side there IS light. Eko is premanently in your heart just as Sammy is in mine but that doesn’t take away from the ABILITY we have to love again.

    Have fun!

  2. Pat says:

    Happy trails with Miss Mayhem. Some how it only seems right that she should accompany you to the Treat Fairy’s wedding. I’m glad Jan’s stones were able to help you understand about that love. It’s out there, it’s real and it links us in ways we can only begin to understand.

  3. Shirley Andonie says:

    Love and safe travels to you and Penny. Have a wonderful time!

  4. Victoria Coleman says:

    So true – when you give love it spreads and encourages others to give to and just makes the world a better place -so thanks for sharing your love for Eko, Penny and Emily – it always brightens my day and helps me to brighten others’ days!

  5. meANXIETYme says:

    Beautiful post. Again I am impressed by your ability to put your thoughts into words that change the way I see things. Thanks for sharing all the parts of your life.

    Safe travels to you and Penny-girl. Enjoy your sister’s wedding and your time with family!

  6. Great thoughts and what a nice friend sending you those very special stones. Have a safe trip!

  7. Jay Hyman says:

    when you return will you share a “tail” or a “tale”?

  8. KarenS says:

    Love goes full circle. Safe travel to all!

  9. Safe travels to you and your co-pilot. Why a lovely and loving gesture on Jan’s part in sending you those stones. I hope your ‘washed up memories’ bring you continued fond recollections upon which to build.

  10. fran welch says:

    Be safe, love ur trip n ur time alone with Penny. She will love it. Have a great time. Love to u all, too bad Emily cant go. I will see watching to see u write.

  11. John Arvin says:

    A powerful post Will, thanks for sharing it.

  12. NM says:

    wow… Have a great trip ! Now I wanna sing “circle of life”..maybe I will go and youtube it. It’s so powerful. I end up in tears each time as my heart bursts out of love !!!

  13. lauramcgrew says:

    I shared with a friend just the other day, that I have wept over Eko (and your loss) often, and have never met either of you in person. Your love expressed in words is so powerful, so strong. Thank you, Will, for letting us in.

  14. Kismet says:

    Did you warn Pennsylvania that Penny was coming?

  15. Connie Taylor says:

    It was great that Jan found those stones at a time when you needed them. Strange things happen in the universe that we will never understand. Enjoy this weekend and may the roads be smooth sailing and Ms Mayhem doesn’t get you into too much trouble in the car, at home or at the wedding. (Will Penny help with the driving to give you a break every so often? )

  16. Will this was so exquisite!!!! That was so thoughtful of Jan to send those stones and I LOVE what you are choosing to do with them. Be safe driving, I am certain Penny will make the trip lots of fun. Huge congratulations to “The Treat Fairy”………love to all! xoxo

  17. Aud says:

    The love between you and Eko, and yours words describing it always brings me tears and smile at the same time! Enjoy your adventure with Penny!

  18. Tanja&Brownie says:

    Let Eko always remind you what love is….and let Miss Mayhem destroy the grief of your loss with her temperament, joyful playing and her own way of showing you what it feels like to be loved by her❤❤
    Have a great time and collect new memories with your wonderfull little pup.

  19. coastingnz says:

    oh Will there go those tears again and you pulling at my heart strings. Even now I often think of your Eko – our Eko to be more precise as he did indeed become a huge part of our lives through your sharing his love and adventures with you, Emily and Penny. I’m very honored to be mentioned in your blog and glad the pounamu has helped you find some peace. As you say you never forget and you never get over the loss – Eko will forever remain in all of our hearts and memories – you just move forward to new adventures. Miss Penny Mayhem will be a wonderful travel companion I’m sure – she had a great teacher in Eko and a great teacher in you. Travel safe and I look forward to reading your adventures across country together. All the best to your sister too for her special big day. Big hugs to all.

  20. Emmadog says:

    Safe travels. Although it will be very different traveling with just Penny, it will be a lot of fun for you both. You will each discover more about the bond you two have together. Mom loves to road trip with just one of us as it is so very special to be just the two of us.

  21. Karen Boone says:

    Safe travels to you and Penny. Blessings to your sister on her special day!

  22. Road trip! Whoo-hoo! Have fun. Be safe.

    Love and licks,

  23. Beautifully written and heartfelt…and true. Thanks for this honest piece, Will. Congratulations to your sister. Safe travels to you and Ms. P.

  24. Not only has the love you shared and received touched you, it struck a chord with us. I marveled at the overwhelming response you received about Eko and learned I was part of a family connected by your love for your pups. I saw people at their best. In a very ugly world, your blog has revealed how good people can be to each other. Safe travels, our friends!

  25. Safe and exciting travels for the boy and his dog!

  26. Jo Rhodes says:

    Congratulations to your sister and her new spouse. I hope Penny and Auggie get in on some crazy family zoomies. Now as you begin to reflect on your journey with Emily, Eko and Penny and you stand in your memories where do you place stones to mark your favourite moments.( Eko avoiding ear wash (LOL) I hope you have too many stones to hold. Safe travels.
    Love to all, Jo Sam and Dean

  27. Deborah Villegas says:

    I stopped reading in Sept. For me it was too painful not having my own pups. My partner and I bought a home specifically for Ridgebacks. It’s been a long 3 year journey and I was told that we will need to wait 1 more year. The new house needs some prepping for dogs, like a new fence and cleaning up. So I wait. I checked in with Eko and Penny and discovered the devastating news. I cried for 30 min. and have remained heavy hearted. I’m in awe how your relationship with Eko has so deeply affected me. I really just want to say thank you, thank you for sharing your journey! – ❤best!

  28. cafall says:

    Congratulations to your sister! Enjoy your road trip and plan some fun stops for Penny and you.

    Monty, Harlow, and Ramble

  29. […] As I wrote last week, I have wrestled with that question for the past few months. Quite often my answer was, “I don’t know.” But then I’d see an email from someone thanking me for helping articulate the loss they felt with their own dog. Or I’d read a message from someone on the other side of the planet who we inspired to add a dog to their family. A mother wrote to me about how happy our videos made her son. A father told me his daughter was no longer scared of dogs after giggling through Instagram clips of Eko and Penny’s antics. […]

  30. Congratulations to your Sister Will. You make me cry every time I visit anymore but it is a good cleansing cry because you help put words to so much I have felt over time.
    Thank you

  31. […] pointed me down the wedding aisle, lifted me to blissful heights, dragged me through hell, and showed me the way out.  That needle is love. Not the love shared between people, or even the love shared between people […]

  32. […] in that shrine in my heart and tried to bar the doors. But Emily pushed me, Penny pulled me, and thousands steadied me as I learned to live outside myself […]

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