Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Obedience School Drop Out June 28, 2013

I’ve been called a lot of not-so-nice things in my relatively short doggie life. Obedience school drop out. Behaviorally challenged. Approved for homes with children ages 12 and above. Yet I find in life’s greatest contradictions lie some of the most intricate sources of wisdom.

Its true of animals and people alike if you ask me. If you hear something enough times, you start to believe it as truth. In a dog’s life, words like stupid, naughty, and troubled haunted my puppyhood. In a person’s life, overuse of words like stupid, disabled, or challenged as a child can impact a person for the rest of their adult life. Truth becomes us. But can we become truth?

Becoming Truth

I’ve often wondered this as I think nostalgically back on my time before my people brought me into my forever home. I encountered a variety of characters in a myriad of settings who each taught me invaluable lessons along my journey. So how could I be so stupid? Why do they keep calling me naughty? What did the folks at the humane society say to my mom that almost made her give up fighting to adopt me?

Then it happened. The tides changed, and with them my life changed forever. Two distinctly similar moments come to mind when I think of the brilliance of contradictory wisdom. My first night at the humane society when I thought the world was coming to an end, Rusty the golden retriever showed me the light. Much like my favorite transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rusty believed we are not products of what the world tells us, but rather of what we tell ourselves. We are what we think, so of course if we believe the negative things that are said about us we indeed may become them.

The bookend to my understanding of this occurred only a few short months later, when my forever family took me to see an animal behaviorist for my alleged behavioral problems. (This was required by the humane society as a condition of my adoption.) I’ll never forget the first two sentences Jenny said when we began our session. “He’s got to be one of the most unique looking dogs I’ve ever met,” she said, “and so smart!”

It was the first time anyone had ever used the word smart to describe me. And in that moment I was both overwhelmed with joy and humbled. Rusty changed my interpretation of the world around me by changing my interpretation of myself, and here I was being praised for simply being me. I know it sounds contradictory, but in that moment I realized true wisdom is found through admission there is much yet to learn.

It is because of my personal admission of humility that I can say I honestly wouldn’t mind being called those negative names anymore. Sure, if we hear something repeated enough times we begin to believe it. But let us learn from the variety of characters life offers us. Let us choose to contradict the negative things with our positive thoughts. Let us become our own truth.


49 Responses to “Obedience School Drop Out”

  1. the title alone has me in stitches

  2. rarasaur Says:

    “But let us learn from the variety of characters life offers us. Let us choose to contradict the negative things with our positive thoughts. Let us become our own truth” Love this– so wise! 🙂

  3. Wiley you touched my heart with your words. I’ll call you Wiseley, because that’s what you are. Happy Caturday my friend 🙂

  4. Leisa Says:

    Love your wisdom Wiley *scratches you behind the ear*

  5. All true happiness and contentment must come from within. Rusty was a smart guy. I’m so happy he was there for you, W. Ditto the behaviorist.

    Love and licks,
    PS – Does this mean “naughty” isn’t a good thing?? Mom tells me I’m naughty a lot! The way she says it with a smile and a giggle and sometimes a cuddle, it seemed like a good thing…. Hmmmm…..

    • Dear Cupcake,
      I too am so blessed to have those characters come into my life and have such a profound impact on my thought process. I feel the same way about my pals (like you) in the blogosphere who continue to support and challenge me in ways I’d never imagined when I started this journey. And yes, I believe naughty can indeed be a good thing when there is cuddling and giggling involved. 😉
      Lots of love,

  6. finnhoward Says:

    So true buddy. How did you get so smart? I kinda like what Cupcake’s Momma said….sometimes Momma giggles when she calls me special 🙂

    • Sometimes I think writing makes me smart because thoughts don’t always make as much sense in my head as they do on paper. 🙂 To being called special! 🙂

  7. Lyn Says:

    “He’s got to be one of the most unique looking dogs I’ve ever met,” I must disagree here…you are not simply unique, Wiley, you have the most intelligent eyes on a pup I’ve ever seen.

  8. “Let us choose to contradict the negative things with our positive thoughts. Let us become our own truth.” perfect advice for doggies and HUMANS alike!

  9. I think Jenny was right: you are unique and very, very smart!

  10. stanze Says:

    You’re a wise, cute and clever dog and I’m happy you found your forever home. I can’t believe you’ve ever been naughty. 🙂

  11. Beautiful words, Wiley that moved my cynical ol’ Ma to tear up a bit! We’re happy you found the life you were meant to live.

    Your Poppy

  12. […] Obedience School Drop Out | Wiley’s Wisdom […]

  13. Gizmo Says:

    Wiley you possess the kind of wisdom that can’t be learned in obedience School…Wear your dropout title proudly as you’re a true philosopher

  14. […] Obedience School Drop Out | Wiley’s Wisdom […]

  15. huntmode Says:

    39 comments – 40 with mine, Wiley! You’ve plucked a chord in our hearts and souls here, Wyles. I read a book every day called, Soulutions by Jody Miller Stevenson, as one of the ways to focus for the day. Your statement, “Truth becomes us. But can we become truth?” reminds me of some of the quotes used for daily meditations. One of my favorites is by Joseph Campbell, “The privilege of a lifetime is to be yourself.” and another, on uniqueness, “Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.” Tallulah Bankhead. and on courage, “It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.” e.e. cummings. Thanks for adding to the collection, Wyles. Best ~ HuntMode

    • What can I say? There’s something to be said for those of us deemed to be quitters by title. There’s more to us than meets the eye. 😉 I LOVE the quotes you shared with me here, and hope to save them to use in future posts. I’ve always been a fan of e.e. cummings and all of his artistic creativity with words, so it was like seeing a familiar face when you mentioned him. Keep the quotes coming! 🙂

      • huntmode Says:

        Quitters? Quitters? Ha! Comeback kids, Wyles! We chew challenges for breakfast! There was a large birthday book that combined a bunch of philosophies and astrology – on my birth day, the motto was “The Day of Return.” It said that people of my birth day had a different sense of chronos and they frequently took side trips, but always returned to finish – and it turned out to be the most accurate statement. No quitters here – COMBACK KIDS! HuntMode 🙂

      • I love that! We are comeback kids who chew up challenges for breakfast! Hear us roar! 🙂

  16. WIley-this is an outstanding post–and as I read it I was looking at Jack Henry, who many people gave up on, but somehow he has managed over come–one person at a time–the negative connotations of his breed. It has been a difficult journey and we have a lot of challenges ahead of us-your words reminded me of why I have not given up on this dog either-You go Wiley!

    • It warms my heart to hear about the second chance you gave Jack Henry at such a special life with such a special forever person. I’m so lucky my forever people found me and I give thanks for that every day just as Jack Henry does. He may not always show it, but please know he appreciates everything you’ve done for him in offering him the chance to overcome adversity. Lots of love to you and your rescued pal.

  17. Great words of wisdom Wiley, especially in one so young, but it seems you are wiser than your years. I’ll look forward to reading more about your thoughts on life.

    • I think you made my day with you comment about being wise beyond my years. 🙂 And welcome! I Thank you for the follow! I love seeing new paw prints on my pages. Looking forward to seeing you again soon!

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

    Sometimes when I think about my former years as a “behaviorally challenged” doggie, I have a small swell of pride. And I like it.

  19. kiwiskan Says:

    works for humans as well…

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