“Lessons Merlin Taught Me,” actually started as a Christmas letter to friends and family in Dec. 2003. My beloved Merlin dog had passed, and I wrote my annual Christmas novella around him. The original (which is shorter by a story and an added PS story at the end) was sent to my buddy, Brian Proctor (Bob’s son), and he called me to ask my permission to run the story on Christmas Day in his giant Insights list.
So . . . on Christmas Day and for weeks after . . . . my email in-box was assailed, overwhelmed and taken down with thousands (I mean THOUSANDS) of emails from people who told me what an impact the story made on their lives, what they acted on immediately and … then … hundreds and hundreds sharing their own stories about pets passing on.
I really could make another book of it. It was such a tsunami of love and support and stories that made me laugh until tears ran down my face.
That whole outpouring just reminded me of what a really wonderful and good world this is, how we’re able to attract all those wonderful, kind people to us, and how just sharing the simple stories of our own lives can move people to do great things in theirs.
As a funny aside – just to leave a picture in your mind – Bob (Proctor) thought Merlin was a hoot. Bob had tiny Pomeranian dogs that he adored (and they only adored Bob and Linda. They were none too happy to share their Bob with anyone). Merlin was such the opposite – just this giant, overly happy lumbering dog who simply expected people to love him everywhere he went.
So, a couple times when Bob was in L.A., I’d pop Merlin into the back seat of my convertible and we’d fly up the 405 with the top down to Bob’s hotel. (Merlin was so so big in that back seat with all his white fur flying everywhere, he was quite the traffic stopper.)
We would pull into the valet and out would walk Bob with his usual jaunty step – all proper and dashing in his cashmere sweater and creased trousers and shiny shoes – and he’d say howdy to Merlin and give him a big ruffle of the ears, and then he’d get in the front seat and off we three would go to lunch.