Posted: Friday, Feb 18th, 2022

By Visit Ventura

Haole’s Rock Garden in Ventura Tells a Story of Everything Right

It is the loveliest spot, immortalizing the loveliest of beings. On a sunny Ventura day, it is swept by sea breeze and happy memory. A rainbow-colored garden of love and kindness. Haole’s Memorial Rock Garden is tucked inconspicuously at the edge of a planter on Ventura’s beach promenade because, well, Haole the Surf Dog epitomized all that is right in this world. Including modesty.   

Curious strollers and cyclists stop for a random look at the brightly painted rocks and simple heart-warming messages. Others come to Haole’s Garden for a reason. To take a quiet moment to remember those who mattered – and still, matter. Because love and kindness, they never leave us.   

“The amount of joy this Garden has brought us has extended to the countless people that are casually walking by,” says Kim Murphy, perhaps better known as Haole’s Mama. “Our dream has come true!”

Haole’s Memorial Rock Garden was the sweet idea of Murphy, and friends Cris Loy and DoriAnne Matsumoto, established to honor Haole on the one-year anniversary of his passing, May 13, 2020.  

And who is Haole (because only the present tense will do)? You’ll be glad you asked because just reading about Haole makes your day brighter. 

Yes, Haole was bigger than Ventura. He appeared on “Good Morning America,” charming America and everyone on the set. He had his own Facebook page and his own book (well, co-authored: “Ride The Wave, Love Sofia and Haole the Surf Dog”). Haole volunteered with “A Walk on Water” — a water therapy organization for special needs children — crisscrossing the country to do a simple, not-so-simple thing. Put a smile on a child’s face and happy warmth in a child’s heart. Children know good, and children loved Haole. As Ventura’s Ambassadog, he took up Ventura’s sport, surfing the Cove at C Street with barking abandon — happily sharing waves in a lineup where sharing isn’t always the case. 

In a world where people sometimes look out for themselves, Haole always looked out for others. Haole loved, played, and gave unconditionally. He swallowed life. He would want us to remember that.

Haole rock memorial

The hope behind Haole’s Memorial Rock Garden was – and is — simple. Along with having a special spot to remember Haole, anyone can add a rock for their loved one as well. Loved ones of any species. From simple beginnings, the Garden has expanded – in understated Ventura fashion – to include not just memorial rocks but kindness rocks too. Garden tenders work hard to keep the kindness rocks in a separate area, and, with kindness in mind, anyone is welcome to take a kindness rock – and the inspiration of kindness – with them. 

It is the finest place to stand and remember the gift of the loved ones who have graced our lives in countless special ways. And, in recalling their grace and example, make ourselves better.

Haole would want it that way.

“Haole was the epitome of kindness and love,” says Murphy. “We are so fortunate to be able to keep his spirit alive.”

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