MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Sometimes it’s four paws or two feet, but those visiting Roxane Cann’s shop in downtown Mount Airy may only notice the obvious – at first.

“It’s not just about dogs and cats; it’s about interacting with owners, too,” Roxane smiled.

She’s owned The Dapper Hound for a year. It’s a place that sells all kinds of pet supplies, but something small and significant is placed all over her store.

“Some of my best rocks that I had, I gave away,” said Roxane.

Look for them in small corners, tucked away from eyesight. They are custom and free.

“I’ll pick up a rock and be like, ‘What do you want to be today? What do you look like?”’ said Roxane. “I think I’m going to do sunshine.”

While starting on her latest painted rock, her necklace hangs over. It’s got a thumbprint and a letter V charm.

“This was Vincent’s 5-year-old fingerprint,” said Roxane, touching the necklace.

A stuntman. Musician. Dog lover. Vincent is her youngest son.

“I always refer to Vincent in the present tense to me because he’s still here,” she said.

After dealing with bullies for years, Vincent left this world at age 14. That was six years ago.

“I miss his smile; his smile was just so bright,” said Roxane.

When it happened, Roxane was devastated. After saying a prayer, a message came to her.

“This overwhelming warmth just came over, and in that quiet moment, I just heard these voices that said, choose kindness,” said Roxane.

The kindness she chose is small enough to fit in in the palm of your hand. 

She started a nonprofit, Kindness Rocks, in honor of Vincent’s Legacy.

“Sometimes on the rocks I do myself, I put a heart on them, then it’s almost like I know my own work,” said Roxane.

There are rock gardens in a dozen different places all over the country. Each rock is hand-painted with encouraging messages for anyone to take.

The closest rock garden to Roxane is just about a block from her Mount Airy store. It’s where she goes to talk to Vincent.

“When you say something three times, you really mean it. So I usually always say, I love you. I love you. I love you, so he knows I really do,” said Roxane.

The rocks are small but stand out because of Vincent’s legacy. Maybe someday, those rocks will fill up a garden or the world with kindness.

Cann speaks at schools and works with kids and families in crisis. Her charity’s website can be found here.

If you are struggling or know someone who is, there are resources out there.

  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Text of call 988
  • Vincent’s Legacy number- 336-408-5657

Since you’re here, we’ll say this.

You are loved. Valued. And so important to this world. It’s so much better with you in it.

We’ll go with Roxane’s three-times rule and write this…

You are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone.