Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Bundle of Joy August 21, 2013

I got a taste of big brotherhood today. Literally. Her name is Alexis and she is the little person that my doggie pal Diesel oversees. She is two people months old today and she tastes delicious, at least by what I could tell by licking her cute little button of a nose. This was the longest bit of time we’ve spent together (my mom, Diesel’s mom Jessica, me, Diesel and Alexis) since she was born and I got the strangest feeling she somehow sensed she was not (technically) the only baby in the room.You Smell Like Joy!

I knew it was probably nonsense. I figured it was just probably the sense I got. It’s not that unlike me to misread a situation regardless of my good intentions. But then mom’s friend Jessica said it out loud and I knew that maybe (just maybe) I wasn’t imagining things.

“It’s like she somehow knows you have a baby in your belly,” she said to my mom.

Chilling with AlexisAnd it’s true. Baby Alexis was the very embodiment of joy when she was looking at my mom. She smiled so much I was surprised her little baby cheek muscles didn’t give out. She was entranced by my mom and I was entranced by her. As I’ve never seen such a little person smile before, I was unfamiliar with the completely overwhelming sense of joy you get from seeing a whole little body smile. She was baring the most beautiful completely toothless smile I’d ever seen, but it was more than that. Her eyes were smiling. She truly was a little bundle of joy.

It was a far cry from earlier in the evening when she was dreadfully unhappy about something. Just as the wonderment of her smile took me by surprise, I didn’t expect the guttural reaction I had to the sound of a baby crying. It bothered me, but not because of the noise. It bothered me because I wanted to help somehow. I got as close to her as I could (usually this meant getting close to the person holding her) and sniffed and stood at the ready in case there was anything I could do to help stop the crying. It didn’t take long for me to realize there probably isn’t anything I can really do. (Unless I somehow figure out how to feed her, change her, or put her to sleep – wouldn’t that be a trick?). I think I might struggle with that when my little person comes along.

But I now know what I have to look forward to in terms of the bundle of joy this baby will be. And I know it’s probably nonsense. I don’t know how it could be true. Yet I hold the belief that baby Alexis was so happy (partially because she had at that point been fed and changed and was readying for sleep, but also) because she knows she will have that little person in her life someday too. What I felt in my heart as I saw those smiles and licked that little button nose is undeniable. I got a taste of big brotherhood today. And it tasted like joy.

 

Just Breathe August 20, 2013

This has to be one of the strangest things I’ve seen my mom do. (Please bear in mind I’ve seen her do many a strange thing). I leave her alone for ten minutes to spend a little time with dad in another room and when I returned, I was welcomed by the most ridiculous sight.

There she was in the living room with her butt in the air holding herself up by her arms. I was alarmed at first, like something must be wrong that would cause her to be in such a strange position. What if she hurt herself? Or (worse) what if she hurts herself getting out of this strange bodily contortion? I was concerned not only for her, but for the baby! Couldn’t it just fall out or something with mom’s body in that position? So I did what any concerned canine would do and ran to her to investigate. I sniffed, but nothing smelled awry. And while she was breathing heavier than usual she seemed all right. Just to be on the safe side, I laid down underneath her in case she fell.

That’s when I heard the woman on the television say something most unusual. She was speaking in quiet tones and there were sounds like the wind chimes I hear in my backyard sometimes. Downward facing dog, the lady said. My ears perked up at the mention of the “d” word, and I began to gather this is something mom was doing by choice. The woman finished talking shortly thereafter and I heard something about this concluding the yoga session.Google Searching

Yoga. A quick search of the Internet explained to me that yoga is a very popular Hindu discipline that promotes balance of the spirit though a series of postures and rituals. (My search also uncovered something called doga, otherwise known as dog yoga, which I think merits its own separate commentary at a later date). Central to the concept of yoga is the importance of breath on inner balance, which my (19-weeks pregnant) mom has definitely seemed a little short on lately. Between her increased clumsiness and her random bouts of breathlessness, she could definitely use a boost of both.

So as strange an image as it was, I’m glad mom is doing this yoga thing. As it turns out, she was not in danger. She was not playing a joke on me. She made it out of the whole ordeal with all four limbs intact. And I learned something pretty important from all of this. Sometimes we have to do scary things, things we are not necessarily good at or comfortable with initially, to find balance in life. Sometimes it is best to simply pause and take a deep soothing breath. Just breathe. You might surprise yourself with the result.

 

I’m Sorry Now August 19, 2013

I don’t know what mom expected me to do. There we were, relaxing in the hammock together on a beautiful Sunday evening. She was reading and I was cuddled up against her sniffing the air. All was well with the world. That is, until I ruined the moment.

Smelling the AirThere they were, playing and climbing one of the very same trees to which the hammock was attached. The family of squirrels who live in my backyard (and frequently taunt me from their place of safety outside the reach of my lead) simply could not go unnoticed. So I did what any dog would do. I attacked. I bounded out of the hammock in what can only be described as another one of my ill-fated attempts to take flight into the tree. The way I saw it my odds were much better than usual because I was already a few feet off the ground from my place in the hammock.

But mom didn’t see it that way. After she rounded me up from my failed attempt to show those squirrels who’s boss, I saw the physical and emotional aftermath of my escape from solitude. My dramatic exit made her spill her water all over herself, her book and her (not-so-Smart)phone. Fortunately no one was harmed in the making of this story, but I know I ultimately ruined our otherwise peaceful time. I'm Sorry Now

And (while I am tempted to argue that I only did what is in my nature and it was really actually the squirrel family’s fault for trespassing) I was immediately sorry for the apparent devastation I’d caused when I saw the pathetically defeated look on mom’s face. Any and all reasons aside, I found myself in quite the quandary. I don’t know what she expected me to do. Certainly the squirrels could not be ignored.

That’s when it hit me. Sometimes what’s in our nature gets us in trouble. It happens to the best of us, and innocent people get hurt in the process. It reminds me a little of a story I’ve heard mom recalling about her and her younger sister when they were little people. Whenever mom’s little sister did something naughty, she would say “I’m sorry now” in the cutest and most sincere voice imaginable. How can you not forgive that?

Therein lies the moral of my flying hammock dog story. Sometimes it doesn’t matter why we do what we do. If innocent people are hurt in the process there is only one way to make it right. They just need to hear it. I’m sorry now. And since us canines can’t say it, we find ways to show it. So I may have ruined my peaceful moment with mom in the hammock. But I made it up to her with lots of love and cuddles and it was like it never even happened.

 

A Piece of Art August 18, 2013

It’s a big question with a big answer. Which is funny to me because it’s coming in such a little package. But I’ve been hearing a lot about it around here lately, so I can say with some authority that it is very important to my parents to make the right decision. There’s just one thing I’m not understanding. Call me a simpleton, but hasn’t the sex of the baby pretty much been figured out since he or she was conceived? Sure, the identifiable organs only formed recently, but it’s been a little person boy or little person girl all along. Decisions, Decisions

So what’s the big deal? They cannot seem to decide whether or not to find out the sex of the baby at the upcoming ultrasound. The funny thing is, I sometimes think I know them better than they know themselves and I think deep down they both wan to know. I feel like they’re both mentally counting down the days until they can find out. There will be no waiting until January 16 for these two.

Meanwhile, as the (allegedly) unbiased observer, I hear the points on either side of the decision. Mom doesn’t really like calling their future little person an it. Dad has thought from the beginning that it’s going to be a girl (mom’s not so sure). It would be nice for them to buy gender specific clothes and things for the nursery (formerly known as Wiley’s room, but I’ve made peace with this). Then there’s that one thing. That one little word that means so much. Surprise. This is the word that (I think) has (almost) won my mom over to the waiting side. God only gives us so many happy surprises in life, and this is one of them, as dad’s aunt told them.

Well, I’ve got a bone to pick with that. It’s a big question with a big answer. And it’s going to be a blessed surprise either way. But the way I see it, so many times the “right thing” is what is in our hearts, not in what people tell us. Besides, my (albeit romantic) little doggie heart has this theory about surprises. Sometimes life’s greatest gifts are a surprise regardless of the timing of delivery.

As French playwright Francoise Sagan said “art must take reality by surprise.” Well, I love surprises. And whether I found out soon or later – whether it is a boy or girl – this little person will be a piece of art to me.

 

From Rags to Riches August 17, 2013

It started with a collar. It had little candy corns on it, and my mom bought it at the Menomonee Falls Pet Fair three years ago today. She had yet to actually have a dog in her life, and she was told this was bad luck. It’s bad karma to buy things for a best friend you’ve yet to meet, people told her (as if she was going to somehow jinx the search).

Here’s the thing: she had already met her best friend. She had met me a few days earlier. She knew she loved me at first sight. But her and dad’s first visit to me was so late in the day the shelter wouldn’t allow them to take me home that same day. I knew she’d be back, but I didn’t learn until later that she almost wasn’t.

Since I had been previously returned, the people at Oshkosh Humane Society were particularly cautious throughout my adoption process to ensure this would be the right family. To ensure I wouldn’t be returned again. They didn’t like that mom and dad were a young couple who would likely be having children in the near future. They didn’t like that dad had never had a dog before. They said they feared my soon-to-be forever people were just falling in love with a cute face and weren’t prepared for the behavioral handful I could be.

Mom didn’t take any of this very well. She saw it as a direct attack on her ability to be a good doggie parent, and perhaps even a good little people parent. Apparently she and dad even resigned to the point they went to meet another terrier mix named Ariel at a different shelter.

The collar would have fit Ariel too. But dad wouldn’t have that. Meeting Ariel did nothing but prove to him that I was the one they were meant to rescue. So he called the people at the Oshkosh Humane Society, told them they were being harsh, and took me home about a week later. He fought for me and no amount of cuddles, kisses, or tail wags will ever thank him enough for that.

Sporting my new tieEver since I was adopted mom takes me to that fair every third Saturday in August. It’s kind of our thing. So you can imagine my disdain when she and dad left this morning to run errands (which must not be any fun at all since I’m almost never invited along for them) and didn’t return until mid-afternoon. I was certain she forgot by that point and (to be honest) I was the slightest bit heartbroken. I understand that forgetfulness can happen during pregnancy, but I didn’t want to believe it. She couldn’t possibly forget our tradition.

Thank goodness dad reminded her. It’s never been his cup of tea, but he knows it’s important to us and he didn’t want the day to go by without us honoring our tradition. He fought for me again, which I realized today he does so often in so many different ways.

It started with a collar. And it ends with a tie. (Thanks to dad’s gentle reminder), mom and I had a fabulous time as we always do, and (in addition to all sorts of dog treats) I got a couple of doggie neck ties. There was a time in my life I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from, and now people love me enough to fight for me and take me to pet fairs and buy me neck ties (of all crazy things). Collars, neck ties, and dog treats aside, I would say that makes me one of the very richest doggies in the whole wide world.

 

TGIF August 16, 2013

It’s going to sound selfish, but I don’t care. I like the weekends. There, I said it.

I make the best of it, but I think I’ve already made it pretty clear I sincerely hate all that time when my parents are away at that place called work the majority of the week. (It’s not the most attractive quality of mine, but I digress.) So I do count down the seconds until “about that time” on Friday afternoons when mom and dad come home from work and I have them to myself for the majority of the weekend. Happy Friday!!!

But a blog friend of mine was kind enough to remind me of something lately. If not for that place called work, my people wouldn’t be able to take care of me. Without that place called work where they make money, they won’t be able to take care of the baby. I’ve said before (and I stand by the truth) that money can’t buy happiness, but it certainly does buy food. That’s a bonus.

I still thank God it’s Friday, but I suppose even that is a matter of perspective. If the weekend started on Thursday night, I bet people would long for it to start Wednesday night. If it started Wednesday, the wish would be for it to start Tuesday. And so on. To what end does this bring us anyway?

It’s not just a people thing. Fridays are a dog’s favorite day of the week too. We canines understand routines pretty well, and we know what the Friday routine means for the next couple of days: people time. Adventures. Car rides. Dog park trips. So much fun happens on the weekends.

The way I see it, the weekends are a blessing. All the people time means all kinds of fun that we appreciate all the more because it is special. If it was always the weekend, what would we have to look forward to? Regardless of the darkness, I think everyone merits from knowing there is some type of light at the end of the tunnel.

So I know it might sound selfish, but I don’t care. I kind of love Fridays. Fridays are family to me.

 

Who Am I? August 15, 2013

Who am I anyway? This is a question I asked myself a few times a day during my time at the Oshkosh Humane Society. Please don’t misunderstand my question for pessimism, as that was never the intention. Conversely, the optimist in me wanted to be better. I tried and tried (perhaps too hard) to win over my visitors so they would take me home.

More often than not, they would opt for a younger (or cuter or bigger or smaller) dog and I would be left wondering what I could do differently. What could I do to stand out in the crowd?

JoyI knocked down a little girl so I could lick her face – partially because I loved her at first sight and partially because she smelled like ice cream. That didn’t work. I demonstrated my vertical jumping skills for a young man because he looked athletic and I thought he’d be impressed. That didn’t work. I did every trick I could think of when Katie (my favorite humane society caregiver) told me to sit because I wanted to impress a young couple. Some would see this as overachieving. The young couple I was trying to impress used the word stupid.

But I kept my chin up. I knew my time would come. I just had to figure out who I was before I could find my forever people. I think it is the same way with people who are looking for their person. You need to know who you are before you can share that unique personality with another person. And (let me tell you) you certainly don’t answer life’s most challenging questions of identity by trying too hard. You answer them by letting go. By not trying, but instead by being. By being yourself.

As soon as I realized and employed this philosophy, I was adopted. Sure, it was by the wrong family at first (the one with all the other animals where who I was still wasn’t clearly apparent to any of us). But it worked. I let myself be myself and they let me in – the real me, not the me trying to be something I’m not. It’s not my fault they didn’t recognize everything the real me had to offer.

And I’m glad they didn’t. Because I knew right away that my forever people did. Three years ago today I met them for the first time. My people. It was a hot and sticky day and I knew it in a moment. We went outside and mom kneeled down and I put my paws on her knees. She pet me and I knew she was the one. They immediately saw me for me and loved me for it. Joy. From the ground up, it happened that day.

Who am I? There is no longer a question in my mind. American writer and inspirational speaker Esther Hicks says it best. “You are joy, looking for a way to express. It’s not just that your purpose is joy, it is that you are joy. You are love and joy and freedom and clarity expressing energy – frolicking and eager. That is who you are.”

 

My Love Languages August 14, 2013

Love. It sure does happen in a variety of forms.

As a puppy I was sure I had all the love I could possibly have in my heart for my mom. She was my provider, my rescuer, my hero, my mom. When I lost her, I thought for sure I would never know love again.

Then on the streets I met Tiger and his puppies and I knew I’d found it. Love. But it was different this time. Instead of bursting with love for the dog who gave me the gift of life, my feelings were overwhelmingly protective toward my adoptive street dog family. I loved her then and I love her still.

When I met Rusty at the humane society it happened again. He was wise, and he shared his wisdom with me. I loved him then and I love him still. He was probably one of the best friends I ever had.

And the love I have in my heart for my forever people is something I would describe as big love. Life-changing love. Unconditional love. It all falls in line with my general philosophy to love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe. I find myself reflecting on all of this today as I give thanks for a new set of friends I’ve made. My blog friends. I love you all so very much, in a very different way than I loved my mom, Tiger, Rusty and in a very different way than I love my forever family. And I’m fortunate that you all love me back. Loving Many

It’s been a while since I last pawsed to say thank you for the myriad of awards you’ve all been kind enough to share with me. That ends today.

Thank you to my dear friend in optimism, Ute at It’s A Happy World , for granting me the Inner Peace Award and Most Creative Blogger Award.

20th June 2013 10th and 11th June 2013

Thank you to blogging inspiration DMaudlin at Mama Bear Musings for welcoming me as part of her WorldPress Family.

Thank you to fellow believer in chasing the stars, ChasingThePerfectMoment, for saying I have Awesome Blog Content.

Awesome Blog Content Award

Thank you to fellow dog blogger and inspiration to me on a daily basis, Harper Lee , for the Sunshine Award, WordPress Family Award, and Awesome Blog Content Award.

http://smellybeagle.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/20130512-164635.jpg?w=640Awesome Blog Content Award

Thank you to a new friend of mine, Nodz, for the Versatile Blogger Award and ABC Award.

versatile-blogger-nominationsAwesome Blog Content Award

And last, but certainly not least, thank you to my friend in irony, Bacon over at Pig Love , for the bouquet of the Versatile Blogger Award, Sunshine Award, and Best Moment Award.

As many of you know, there are a variety of rules associated with these awards, most of which I intend to break today. However, the one very most important rule of all (in my humble doggie opinion) is to paw it forward. If you’re reading this, please consider yourself a member of the family who deserves the recognition of these awards. Take your pick. Choose one, or a few, but know that I am sharing these awards with my dearest loved ones who have supported and encouraged me to keep on the blogging path less travelled.

Its been a path with all kinds of different types of love. It sure does happen in a variety of forms. And I’ve got to say – I sure love each and every one of them.

 

The Assault of Laughter August 13, 2013

Forget Ludwig van Beethoven. Music doesn’t get any better than what I heard coming from mom today. Giggles

Laughter. Belly busting, tears-in-your-eyes laughter. It was beautiful. Remember those tears of joy I was talking about a few days ago? This was different. It had nothing to do with the baby and everything to do with this mysterious thing my mom was looking at on the computer. Being the interactive investigator I am, I had to find out what all this joy was about so I took a peak when she wandered off to refill her glass of water. And let me tell you, if dogs could laugh, I too would be giggling like a ninny right now.

Looking back at me were images of 22 dogs who are just really excited to be dogs. They are all doing fairly common canine comedy, caught on camera no doubt by their loving people. And yet, they are illustrated in a way that brings the one of the most sincere (and random) forms of joy to the heart.

This is too good not to be shared, as philosopher Khalil Gibran would suggest that “in the sweetness of friendship (there should be) laughter and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” We all need a good refreshing teary-eyed laugh every now and then. So today I share mine.

It’s hard to pick a favorite, so I picked three.

This dog who physically cannot contain how excited he is about being able to shit outside.               

22 Dogs Who Are Just Really Excited To Be Dogs

This dog who can’t even sit still because he’s a dog and his life is amazing and he spends 24 hours a day doing beautiful dog things.

             

22 Dogs Who Are Just Really Excited To Be Dogs

This dog who is even too excited for the other dog.
                  

22 Dogs Who Are Just Really Excited To Be Dogs

Are you laughing yet? If not, please check out the entire list as there is much more happiness to be had from the stories of the other dogs as well. (You won’t be disappointed).

All of this reminds me that music comes to us in many forms. And I don’t really have anything against the legend that is Mr. Beethoven. But the sound of laughter is one of the most contagious forms of joy I’ve come across in my doggie life. While I know there are some things that are off limits in the category of comedy, today I revel in its wondrous affect on our lives. It’s ironically soothing. Refreshing, like the morning dew. And as great American author Mark Twain put it “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

 

More or Less August 12, 2013

I don’t think dogs are wired to understand the people concept that less is more. I’m sure I don’t speak for all of us, but I certainly don’t leave spare kibbles in my bowl. Not a single scrap of people food hits the floor that I don’t scoop up. One toy is just never enough. But I suppose this all makes sense because we live with our whole honest selves. We wear our hearts on our proverbial sleeves. And we love with all our hearts.

2013-06-28 21.17.47I was reminded of this today when I heard a familiar phrase on television. “Amateurs built the ark; experts built the Titanic.” I’m not certain of the origin of this philosophical commentary, but I’m drawn to it for obvious reasons. Not only does it challenge us to try something new, to challenge conventional wisdom, but it aligns with another truth I hold dear about judging a book by its cover.

Don’t do it. Easy as that.

It is in contradictions such as these that I find myself pondering things on a more philosophical level. In general more is more to me, yet I believe in extracting joy from the simple things in life. I believe in giving that book with a seemingly boring cover a read simply out of principal. I believe in second chances. These are not declarations of someone who doesn’t understand how less can possibly be more.

Maybe that’s the amateur in me. It’s the same part of me that can’t leave any food and prefers the company of all my entire comfort circle of toys rather than a simple representation. But just because I don’t understand something doesn’t mean I push an idea aside. Quite the opposite, in fact, to the point that I want to learn something from everything. I would much rather build something on faith and understanding than on vanity and luxury anyway.

So perhaps I’ve been going about this whole less is more concept the wrong way. It’s not one way or the highway. When we love with our whole selves, down to our core, whether we have more or less of something doesn’t matter.