Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Brighter Than Sunshine March 10, 2013

French poet Victor Hugo once said “to love beauty is to see light.” I could use some light on this dreary Sunday afternoon, so I find myself exploring what beauty looks like to me. “Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them,” as fellow empiricist thinker David Hume put it.

I love Hume’s statement as it reflects my belief that beauty starts in the mind. It radiates from the soul. And it shines brightly in those who value inner beauty over glitz and glamour. So it might not come as that big a surprise that I am not a fan of the dog show world. Don’t get me wrong – they’re not all bad. But taken to the big stage that is the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (and others like it), my disdain is threefold and I simply can’t try to understand it from their point of view.

Please bear in mind, this perspective comes from someone who would most definitely be considered a mutt in the outwardly analytical eyes of the Westminster judges. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: “what kind of dog is that?” No one knows. The shows only pass judgment on what they consider to be “accepted breeds,” which I am most definitely not.

Moreover, the Westminster dropped Pedigree as one of its main sponsors after 24 years in 2012. The reason? Pedigree was running a campaign in support of helping shelter dogs (like me) find their forever homes. No. They say right on the Westminster web site they only want “the best of the best…Storied in its history, rich in its tradition, the Westminster’s Kennel Club famed annual dog show is unique, prestigious, and elegant for all concerned.”Just A Mutt with a Big Heart

Much like what the elegance of Hollywood has done to encourage the staggering statistics that accompany eating disorders among women, these shows measure beauty on an unreasonable scale. Dogs are being held to different more physically demanding standards than ever before. In some cases, the evolving physical guidelines are encouraging breeders to make changes that ultimately cause serious health problems. While judges are now seeking a more severe slope in the back of a German Shepherd, breeding to meet the standard is causing more hip dysplasia on an already common problem in that breed. Pug faces are deemed most anatomically correct the flatter they are, but the poor little dogs suffer from breathing problems as a result. Is it worth it?

I would much rather measure beauty in its purest form. “You are not your appearance, but does the rest of the world know that?” Sarah Ban Breathnach asks in Simple Abundance. How different the world would look if we all asked ourselves that question on a daily basis.

In my case, it would be a reminder that I actually love everything about my unique appearance and my (relatively) normal life in my loving forever home. Those Westminster judges might call me a mutt, but I’m okay with that because I am a believer in the power inner beauty can have on the outer world. Forget the glamorous dog shows. I don’t need a fancy ribbon or trophy to know when I see inner beauty, I see light brighter than sunshine.

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24 Responses to “Brighter Than Sunshine”

  1. Amba Says:

    I don’t care what Westminister or any of the dog snobs say. You look mighty fine to me in that photograph. But more importantly, you have shared some of the most wonderful insights on life. So if they ever have an EQ test for doggys I am pretty sure you would ace that 🙂 I really liked the question Sarah ban Brethnack asked. I will put that question to myself today 🙂 Have a great week ahead Wiles!

  2. Pb Says:

    Oh, Wiley, such wise words from such a young chap.But why the adornments – why not glory in your naked and natural beauty, my friend?

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  9. Reblogged this on Wiley's Wisdom and commented:

    It’s not always easy to love yourself. Here’s why I make a point to do so anyway.

  10. I have to agree with you – leave dogs alone, stop with this breeding for looks rubbish and let’s start think of the health of the dogs involved.

  11. KL Caley Says:

    What a lovely post! Beauty is in the eye of the lead holder! Both my four-legged friends are rescue dogs and I think they are just beautiful. I think they look after me more than I look after them, they take me for a bit of exercise everyday, they make sure I know when its supper time and they give me fab snuggles in front of the tv. In what way would a kennel club dog do this better?

    • Wow! Thanks so much for stopping by and following and sharing this awesome perspective! I love seeing new paw prints on my pages! Please come visit me again soon. 🙂

      Lots of love,

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