The Broken One was inspired by how my own daughter lost her stuffed wolf. . .aka Wolfius.

Once upon a time my eldest child had a stuffed wolf she didn’t want her little brother to play with. Somehow, perhaps only because he was told not to touch it, it became my son’s favorite stuffed animal and she eventually gave it to him.

He sat on my son’s bed for years.

When my youngest daughter first met “Wolfius” he was off limits to her—her brother’s untouchable, treasured stuffed animal. Funny how cycles repeat. At three my daughter would beg to just hug him.

Eventually, my son passed “Wolfius” down to his younger sister and he gained even more importance in our family.

Other toys have come and gone, but Wolfius remains. My youngest one falls asleep hugging him each night, takes him with us on every trip, and when her older siblings went off to college she hugged him even tighter. Somehow the love she has for them has become intertwined with her love for the stuffed animal they handed down to her.

You can imagine the panic that struck my family when we made it to baggage claim in an airport only to discover my daughter had put him down somewhere along the way. We weren’t allowed reentry to retrieve him. We went straight to lost and found. . .which turned out to be a bit of a mistake, but we all learn as we go through life, don’t we? I didn’t know that airlines hold things for 24 hours then ship to a main holding area rather than lost and found. So, by dealing with the airport rather than the airline Wolfius set out on a multi-state adventure.

I still get teary when I remember how supportive everyone was. I knew he wasn’t the type of stuffed animal someone would throw away—or want to keep. He looks too well loved. One look at him and you know some kid is missing him.

When no one could locate him, I turned to social media and offered a reward.

First, I’d like to thank everyone at Southwest Airlines for spreading the world far and wide. Really, the outpouring of messages from people throughout the company was heartwarming.

Special thanks to : Melissa DeJesus-Blanc and Melissa DeJesus-Blanc . Two of the nicest women who kept us in the loop on where he was and made sure he made it to us safely at our hotel.

I’d also like to thank everyone who shared the post and who offered us their own stuffed animals.

The messages that came in during that time were so touching that I knew I had to write Wolfius into a book. I took the emotions from our experience and pour them into The Broken One.

Authors put a lot of themselves into their stories. We change names, ages and circumstances, but the essence remains the same.

We have all been broken at one time or another in our lives. Life is full of miracles and tragedies. We decide which is which and who we become because of them.

Ruthie

Actual social media post that was shared more than . 5,000 times and helped to bring Wolfius home.

Actual social media post that was shared more than . 5,000 times and helped to bring Wolfius home.