Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Dirty Paws April 25, 2014

I don’t like feeling left out. Yet I can’t lie in saying I haven’t felt left behind on more than one occasion in the last four months. That is how old my dear little person is (almost), and I frequently revel in how quickly that time has flown by. Yet it seems like ages when I consider that I am no longer first fiddle to my dear forever mom. Silliness

Oh heavens now. Most days I am second and I know it. Carter cries. I hide under the bed. Mom snuggles Carter now, not me. Mom plays with Carter now, not me. For all I know, mom loves Carter now, not me. On the bad days like we had yesterday, it’s easy to let these negative thoughts make their way from my head into my heart. Yet days like today remind me I might as well declare myself crazy.

Because days like today when I start to feel left out, something intervenes. I’m not sure what. For all I know, it is me. But today it happened again. Mom and dad were enjoying the warmer than usual spring weather. Dad was working in the yard while mom occupied Carter in his carrier thingy (which I frequently wish I would have tried out prior to his arrival). Carter was happy, which means mom was happy, which means I was ecstatic.

Then it happened. I stopped feeling left out. Partially because I jumped myself into a love fest kind of situation on the patio furniture, as I have been known to do. But in doing so, I seemed to make more than just my own heart happier. Mom smiled. Carter smiled. And my heart smiled. Because I knew in that moment we agreed on all things in life. It didn’t matter that my paws were dirty from the mud in the backyard. It didn’t matter because we all had joy in our hearts. In that moment, that is what mattered.

And that’s how the story goes. Regardless of how frequently I may feel left out, moments like I had today remind me I am losing my mind (not my heart). All is well, wehtehr we realize it in the moment or not.

 

Home is Where the Heart Is

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:37 pm

I’m not going to lie. This is probably one of my favorite posts. To love, life, and home.

Wiley's Wisdom

I’ve lived a lot of different places in my relatively short life.

When I was a little pup, my birth mom and my two brothers moved around a lot, finding shelter under garbage cans, in alley ways, and in cardboard boxes (if we were lucky). Times were pretty tough and food was scarce, but one thing brought me comfort like nothing else: cuddling with my mom. I would scrunch myself as small as I could, inhale her motherly smell, and listen for her heartbeat. It was warm, and with each beat of her heart, I could somehow feel her loving me just a little bit more. More than anything, I miss that about her. She was home to me.

Later when I was fending for myself, it brought me the most powerful sense of relief to picture myself back there snuggling myself into serenity. I could be shivering cold in the icy…

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Little Guy, Big Thoughts April 24, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:31 pm

I can’t help but think of my little person when reading this now.

Wiley's Wisdom

Fortune cookies make me feel rich. Not just because they are yummy (and my mom accidentally drops them on the floor for me every now and then), but because of the wisdom they contain:

Seize from every moment its uniqueness.

Trust others but still keep your mind open.

A sound mind and healthy body bring many happy events to you and your family.

And my own personal favorite: You will bring sunshine into someone’s life.

These are a sample of some of the fortunes of wisdom I’ve stumbled upon in the Schmidt kitchen lately. No bigger than a people finger, those little fortunes pack a powerful philosophical punch. Little and insignificant as they may seem, I place a high value on the insights, advice, and inspiration they provide.

I know what its like to not be taken seriously because of my size. A lot of people have underestimated me in…

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The Good Life

I think it’s magic. To me there is really no other logical explanation. I’ve seen it happen in both my own life and the lives of others on occasions to frequent to count. Music. From the ground up, it touches the soul in a way words alone cannot.

I was reminded of this today when I heard a song by One Republic called “Good Life.” It’s all about the band’s real experiences travelling around the world and their ultimate realization of the good life. And it’s one of those songs that always gets my paws bouncing. It puts listeners into their own good life, just in listening to it. Listen to me

Which was kind of nice today. Because I’ll be honest. (Not that I’m not always honest, but you know what I mean). Today was not a good day. It was filled with tears and screams and everything negative one could possibly associate with time spent with a baby. Dear little Carter was in rare form today, and the implication was not a good one. Because when he’s that unhappy, mom is unhappy.

And here’s the thing – I know it is because dear little Carter is her baby and she wants him to be okay so it hurts her to see him so unhappy for so long. We are talking two hours of tears long. But she can’t. She can’t fix it. Sometimes there are just things you can’t fix. I think that’s what I learned today.

Because even I couldn’t fix the situation. This is not for lack of trying, mind you. Oh no. I pulled out the big guns. The more Carter screamed, the more mom cried, and the more I attempted to intervene. Attempted is the key word in the story, as I failed to evoke anything but frustration from my beloved forever mom.

Maybe it was because I was even more relentless with my positivity than Carter was with his screaming. It puzzled me at first, since it has always worked in the past. I did this thing where I paw at mom’s leg and sit and stare at her, and paw and stare, and paw and stare, and even jump at her – it did nothing but make matters worse. She just seemed more upset.

Then in happened. Magic. The song came on the radio and somehow the spirits lifted. Joy. From the ground up, it took the form of music today. And (even though it was something other than me causing it) I’m okay with that. Because today I was reminded of a pretty important lesson. The good life isn’t always the easy one. It’s the real one.

Oh, this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life

Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/onerepublic/good-life-lyrics/#Fdd7HQaTuoUmQbJr.99

 

On Our Way April 23, 2014

It might sound like madness. And it doesn’t work with everyone. In fact, there are probably a lot more people it doesn’t work with than it does. But I have this trick. It’s kind of a signature move of mine, if I have such a thing. I jump until someone catches me.

I remember the first time it happened like it was yesterday. I was new to my forever home and I was in my backyard paradise with my new forever mom. She patted her legs with her hands and said “up” and I did it. Without a second thought, I jumped right into her arms.

It wasn’t long before I started responding to anyone who did that gesture with my signature move. My aunt Morgan. My mom’s friend Andi. Anyone who patted their legs in that certain way had a Wiley in their arms shortly thereafter.

I’m not sure who trained who when it comes to this particular behavior, if I’m being honest. But lately I have noticed it doesn’t work quite as well. Because lately when my forever mom and dad leave the house they do so with that big old car seat and a diaper bag and whatever other accessories are required for baby Carter. And without me.

At least most of the time when I know I would have otherwise been invited on whatever journey was about to ensue I now hear the dreaded “stay” word. At first it bothered me a little. At first I cursed the dreaded “stay” word. But today I realized that is silliness. Riding with the homies

I still have my fair share of adventures. In fact, I dreamed today of some places I would like to travel. I hear there is a camp for dogs and their people in Vermont where you can square dance. In San Diego, there are beaches that allow dogs to roam and swim freely. Austin Texas apparently has a bunch of dog parks to explore.

I can’t say for certain whether I will ever make it to these places. But I can confirm the madness. Because as my favorite transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson put it “though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”

There is something special that happens when I make it into the arms of my forever mom before a journey. And it doesn’t matter if the extent of that journey is a car ride to the grocery store. Joy. From the ground up, it happens in those moments for my mom and I. We carry each other in those moments. Because it doesn’t matter where you’re going in life as much as who you’re going there with.

 

 

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:04 pm

Some of my favorite moments with mom are when we dance. Not because I particularly like dancing, but because mom seems so happy when we do.

Wiley's Wisdom

I may not know the waltz, the fox trot or the samba, but I sure can dance. My mom and I have this (semi-secret) routine that (almost never) involves anyone but us.

“Up, Wiley,” is my signal the dance is about to start. And the next thing I know, I’m up in my mom’s arms and we are swaying together to anything from Norah Jones to Bob Dylan. We truly are dancing like no one’s watching. And I love it. For those three or four minutes, all is well in the world. My mom is happy, I’m happy, and (as a believer in the contagion that is happiness) I could not ask for anything better than that.

2013-01-26 20.57.00

Up, down, or sideways, music moves me. Lyrics lull me into happier places, mourn with me in darker places, and inspire me to be better, write better, and live better. From Bette Midler…

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I’m Sorry Now April 22, 2014

I don’t really know what happened. One minute I was in my happy place otherwise known as dreamland (chasing rabbits and other small vermin, of course). The next thing I know, there was crying. Well, it was more like screaming actually. Very loud and incredibly frantic screaming. Wiley! Wiley! WILEY!

I’m not sure how long it was going on before it finally woke me from my apparently deep slumber, but out I crawled from one of my favorite spots under my peoples’ bed and there I was. And there she was.

My dear aunt Morgan was in shambles. Absolute shambles. Her hair was strewn every which way. She was crying. And she was upset. She was incredibly upset. I did my best to cheer her up with all of my tricks. I snuggled and wagged and licked and none of it seemed to work. It was apparent. I was in the dog house. The worst part was, I wasn’t really sure why.

That is until mom returned home shortly thereafter. That is when I listened to the other side of the story. I thought he ran away, Morgan said, I thought he was gone. It seems to have startled her that I didn’t respond right away, I realized. This brought to light something I’ve always known but spend very little time contemplating. Baby Love

We often don’t know the consequences of our actions until it’s too late. A lot of things are said that we can’t take back. Yet we say them, they do their damage, and life goes on. A lot of things are done that have negative repercussions. A lot of decisions are made with little to no thought of their impact. All the while I know in my heart the power of the ripple effect. Everything we do, intentional or otherwise, has an effect on the world around us.

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life doing nothing,” as Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw suggested.

It doesn’t matter that I didn’t know what was happening. It doesn’t matter that in my dreams I was about to slay a whole coven of squirrels. What matters is the tears that resulted from my ignorance. The stress I caused with all kinds of unnecessary worrying about my whereabouts.

Because while it was certainly not intentional I learned a very important lesson today. I learned what it means to cause such confusion. Because I learned what is like to be loved. It’s not the first time, and I (while I don’t intend a repeat episode anytime soon) I am so very blessed in knowing it won’t be the last.

 

Can You Hear Me Now? April 21, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:06 pm
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I think it’s kind of hard for a lot of people. Well, I’ll be honest – I know it’s really hard for a lot of people. Listening. From the ground up, it is a skill. A gift. Most definitely not a given trait of human personality.

And I say this with authority in the matter. There is a good reason we four-legged canines are known as man’s best friend. Well, there’s more than one, but for the sake of my experiences today I shall focus on one. I would argue that’s okay since it might just be one of the most important behaviors that distinguishes us from people. We listen. Whole-heartedly, sincerely and honestly. We listen.

Experience observing people has taught me that is not always the case from person to person. Too frequently I think person one is too caught up in his or her own story (or stories) to notice what person two is trying to say. I often mention my appreciation of the person behind the people. This is probably one of my very best examples of how that is not supposed to work.

No matter how a good a person may thing he or she is at hiding it, we dogs always know when something bigger is going on. Words may not even be involved, but we listen. I Am Listening!

The same cannot always be said for people unfortunately, and so begins the fundamental communication struggle. Everyone has something to say. That’s given. But not everyone is capable of listening. Therein lies the problem with interpersonal communication.

It happened in my forever home today. My mom and her mom were both having bad days for very different reasons that don’t necessarily matter to the story. They both needed to talk about it. And, as a result, neither of them made good listeners. They forgot the person behind the people because their person was encountering challenges of their own.

“Listening is a magnetic strange thing, a creative force,” suggested American psychiatrist Karl Menninger. “The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us fold and expand.”

It happens. I’m not saying it shouldn’t. But I am saying that some days when there is nothing else to listen too, it wouldn’t hurt to try a dog’s hand (er, I mean paw) at it. Listen. From the ground up, put aside everything going on in your own life and listen to something someone else has to say.

 

Wiley Schmidt: A Fortunate Accident?

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:50 pm

It’s humbling to think about what life might be like after you’re gone.

Wiley's Wisdom

Tomorrow is such a powerful word. It is a promise of a fresh start on a new day. It is another chance to get caught up with that to-do list or start that project you always wanted to start when you could never find the time. It is a chance to make a difference in the lives of others, or finally put that dream to action. But ultimately, tomorrow is the devil’s playground for procrastination. What if there is no tomorrow?

Hillary Cooper once said “life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” I’ve been fortunate to have my fair share of breathtaking moments. The day I met my forever mom and dad, the day they took me home, and the day I realized how much they loved me all come to mind.

So today I embrace life…

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Dust In The Wind April 20, 2014

It could be as silly as a lost toy. Or as heartbreaking as a forever person. There is truth in the philosophy that sometimes it takes the loss of something to recognize its value. But the instigator in me can’t help but challenge this particular truth to a dual. So to you, truth, I stick my wagging tail in the air and dare you to chase me. Dreaming Big

Because it’s there. The elephant in the room. The meaning behind the ideology. The real truth. Appreciate what you have while you have it and you won’t have to worry so much when it’s gone. It’s why I didn’t use to believe in bucket lists. They seemed to morbid, too sad and too real all at the same time. But that’s because I had it all wrong. A bucket list shouldn’t be something you put together only when you get horrible news. It shouldn’t be squeezed into the last few precious days, months, or years of life. No. A bucket list should be lived.

I turn six people years old next month. That’s approximately 42 in people years. I’m no spring chicken anymore, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be young at heart. Just as it’s never too late to dream big, I realized today that there is nothing morbid about a bucket list if it’s put together for the right reasons. So today I put mine out there, in writing, for the world to see. Not because I’m dying, but because I’m living. The future starts now.

A Bucket List – Wiley C. Schmidt

1) Publish a book

2) Eat a hot dog (with ketchup and a bun)

3) Meet a celebrity advocate for animals (maybe Ellen? Or Ian Somerhalder?)

4) Go on a blind date

5) Run a marathon with mom

6) Meet and properly train my doggie replacement in the Schmidt family

7) See a movie at the theater

8) Attend a sporting event

9) Travel to Tennessee (I hear it’s beautiful there)

10) Have a steak dinner with my people

11) Watch the sunset over Lake Michigan

12) Master a trademark trick

13) Become a best friend to a little person

14) Swim in a lake

15) Ride in a fire truck