“I have a dog business. I have a cockpit and I love riding with my dog so I knew that eventually I needed to get a dog. It just had to happen," Stone said
A woman who traveled the world with her German shepard has had to move on after the canine’s devastating death.
Jess Stone, who had shared her story with PEOPLE about her around-the-world trip on a BMW motorcycle with her 6-year-old, 75-lb. German shepherd, Moxie, in February, revealed that in the months that followed things took a turn for the worse.
She told CNN that her husband, Greg, was hit by a bus while riding his motorcycle along the Pan-American Highway in March, suffering several injuries, and that around two weeks later her beloved travel companion died due to complications from a routine operation.
“[Moxie] just died,” Stone told CNN. “And we were not there. And the guilt that I felt and the grief that I had… My world just shattered.”
With her husband still having “months of recovery left” and no longer having Moxie to continue their worldwide multi-year journey, called GoRUFFLY Around the World, Stone decided to take a break and take a trip from Seattle to San Diego to check out people doing different activities with their dogs and explore their different bonds
“It was so extraordinary riding with Moxie. We formed this special bond together. And I knew that there were other people doing different things [with their dogs] that also had that bond,” Stone explained to CNN. “So I thought, wouldn’t this be a good way to celebrate Moxie and to sort of work through my own grief.”
It worked, because Stone said she felt the itch to get back on the road again — with a new puppy co-pilot. She told the outlet that she struggled to find the right dog for the role as “every dog that I saw wasn’t Moxie,” but she and her husband eventually settled on a 9-week-old White Swiss Shepherd, which they named Whimsy.
“I’m a dog person,” she explained. “I have a dog business. I have a cockpit and I love riding with my dog so I knew that eventually I needed to get a dog. It just had to happen.”
She told the outlet that she had to get Whimsy trained to ride alongside her on the bike and get used to wearing goggles, which was the hardest part of the process. She said she took Whimsy on a few practice rides for about a month and the pup thankfully “did not fuss.”
“She did so well,” Stone said of Whimsy’s training. “It was like she was born for this.”
“Now I’m riding with Whimsy,” she continued. “We’ve resumed our journey. We’re going to continue going south, following in the paw prints of Moxie and head down to the Antarctic.”
But with a different dog comes a different schedule, as Whimsy is still a puppy. Stone said their new schedule consists of riding for four days and resting for three, which is when Whimsy gets to “hang out and sleep.” She said she and her husband also ride for shorter bursts of time in order to let the puppy “be free” or “have a little nap.”
“It’s different riding with a puppy than it is with an adult dog,” she told CNN. “Moxie was a year and a half when we started. She was finished with her teething phase and she had a bit more staying power. Whimsy is like a fluffy puppy.”
“It’s taught Greg and I to slow down ourselves,” she added.
She said that both she and her husband have learned an important lesson over the past few months about living in the moment and not taking anything for granted.
“Having Moxie pass away like that — it was so unexpected. So we know that bad things can happen,” she said. “And it just makes us try and enjoy every day that we have together now a lot more, because we know how fleeting I can be.”
The trio are set to make their way to Mexico from Nevada, before traveling through Central and South America. They said they will ride to the “tip” of Argentina before flying over to South Africa. Stone said Whimsy will be “over a year old” at that point and “be able to do longer distances and longer times.”
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“It’s just wonderful how everybody has sort of rallied behind Whimsy,” Stone said. “Everybody was just so thrilled that we were able to sort of bring a new joy back into our lives like this and continue the journey with her.”
“As I watch Whimsy, I feel like my heart is light. It just makes me happy to share this again,” she added. “Even if it’s not with Moxie, I’m glad that I’ve got this new co-pilot. I feel renewed.”
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