The first time I go a full day w/o crying…

…will be, maybe, tomorrow? I keep having to  push it back another day. Our old friend Mark Holmberg surprised us with a call yesterday evening. Showed up a few minutes later.

I am a dedicated nostalgiaphobe. But this is a picture of my old bud in his element, at Pony Pasture, in the snow, near the river.

Ivory. The river.

And this is the story Mark did yesterday evening. Once again I am moved beyond words.

Mark Holmberg’s story about Ivory.

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to The first time I go a full day w/o crying…

  1. Eileen says:

    Jay, This is beautiful and moving. Ivory truly made such a positive difference in this world and so do you. You touch lives for the better.

    • Thank you so much Eileen – it’s always wonderful to hear from you. Have a great trip to Charlottesville. I know things will go well for you there.

      Have a great day,


  2. Evelyn Zak says:

    This is beautiful – like so much of the energy that swirls around you. Thanks for sharing it, Jay. A warm way to start my day. . .

  3. Martha Ann says:

    Hi Jay, I work with Evelyn and she has been telling me about Ivory and your blog. What a beautiful story Mark did! I’m so sorry for your loss. Our furry companions bring so much into our lives and saying goodbye is so difficult. But Ivory won’t be too far away, as she will always be in your memories and heart.

    • Hi Martha Ann,
      Thank you for your words. I’m glad you enjoyed Mark’s story – he’s a great guy. I was fortunate to have made his acquaintance. It startles me to even write these words – I knew him before I even met Ivory! And Ivory was 17 when he died, and I got him as a puppy. Wow.

      I took my other dogs to Pony Pasture this morning, as we do every Sunday. Ivory will only be as far away as the river. I am so thankful.

      Have a great day,


  4. Chris Gilman says:


    • Thanks Chris. I’m glad we’re neighbors. And I’m glad Ivory was immortalized in your wife’s photography. First hanging on the walls in my home, and now in Mark’s moving tribute to Ivory. See you soon,


  5. Patti Goodall says:

    What a beautiful story! Now I’m crying…

  6. Kathy Maybee says:

    Jay, Beautiful piece…………my heart goes out to you. Ivory’s spirit lives on in you and many other people whom you and he have touched.

    • Hi Kathy,
      Great to hear from you. Thank you so much for your kind words. All of our spirits live on in the people we know and have known. I hope life in Florida is great! Let me know next time you’re up for a visit; we need to get together. Have a great day,


  7. Barbara Mann says:


    Can we ever know what positive differences our challenges, our loves, our hopes, our efforts…. can make in this world? You and Ivory made such a difference in the lives of so many people!!!!

    Am so gald Ivory (and you) were highlighted in that more than marvelous segment by Mark Homberg! What an honor it is to know a fellow such as you— who had a dog like Ivory!!!!

    God bless and give you fewer days with tears….except those from joy… you journey with your grief.

  8. Shirley says:


    How humbling. It is sad that not more of us come to the realization that life is beyond what is lived within our heads. Your compassion, your energy, your dedication, are attributes that can only enhance the lives of others. And it is those attributes that will draw the right people and furry creatures to your life. I am honored to know you even if in the small scope of saying “hi” at Pony Pasture. Mark’s piece on you was exquisite and God Bless Ivory as he romps freely in doggy heaven, probably still sending rays of hope to others less fortunate.

  9. Hi Barbara,
    I am always happy to hear from you, even under these painful circumstances. I hope you’re doing well. How soon can we take a walk outside together? Before it gets too sweltering, I hope. I look forward to seeing you soon. Talk with you soon,


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