Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

My Book of Tricks April 25, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 3:50 pm

I’m not ashamed to say my book of tricks is fairly limited. I know the basics, like sit, stay and come (not that I’m always that good at the last of the three). I know a couple more advanced things, like rollover, play dead and shake. I fondly remember the time I spent with my dear forever mom learning these things when she first brought me into her forever home. And not just for the treats (as there were many).

The joy was my favorite part. Kisses

As for my favorite trick, I think it might be one only dog lovers would appreciate. I think it took the most time for me to learn, too, which aligns well with my belief that good things come to those who wait. “Give kiss,” mom would say. I thought she was crazy at first. I tried that once (or twice) at a previous adoptive home and was scolded ten times over.

Maybe that’s why it was so hard for me to wrap my mind around. But once I did, it became a favorite trick of mine to perform, not just for the treats but because the way I see it, a kiss is a sign of love. And there is no lack of love in my heart for my dear forever mom, that much is for sure.

Dear baby Carter is no animal. He’s a little person, who I’ve had the honor of watching grow and develop for the last (almost) 16 months. And today he brought a new kind of joy to the hearts in my forever home. Today, mom asked him for a kiss and he didn’t even think twice.

He gave her a kiss immediately, and he didn’t even require any treats for doing so. He just did it. Like he knew exactly what he was doing and had done it a million times before. But he hadn’t done it before. This was the first time. And it made my heart sing with joy to see.

I know my book of tricks is fairly limited. I know the basics and some advanced things. But seeing that happen today made me realize it’s okay to have a limited variety, so long as they have the desired effect. Like Carter and I with our “give kiss” trick. It’s not much. And the treats are nice.

But the joy is my favorite part.


Seeking Selflessness

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 3:07 pm

It is because she waited that she found dear Joey.

Wiley's Wisdom

Her name was Olivia. And she was the most beautiful spaniel mix I’d ever seen. Granted, I only saw her on a computer screen and didn’t actually meet her in person. But mom did and she tells me she was pretty swell. At the tender age of two months old, she was a black and brown bundle of puppyhood joy. And she almost became part of my forever family today.

My dear aunt Morgan has been searching for her first fur baby of her own for more than a year. She has been through a lot on her search, from moments of heartbreak to moments of hope. She has fallen in love with dachshunds and terriers and bearded collies of all ages and sizes. She has considered buying a purebred of some kind, but would really prefer to rescue.

And today she thought for sure she had finally found her…

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Don’t Let Go April 24, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:12 pm

Sometimes it happens in the form of a trip over an unexpected hurdle. Or at a full run. Or mid-climbing maneuver. Or for no good reason at all. Gravity. From the ground up, it’s not a favorite thing of mine right now. I watch every day as dear baby Carter gets bumps and bruises and cuts and scrapes on account of the simple truth that he falls down. A lot.

Wiley and Carter

It happened a surprising amount today, as he was in what can only be described as very dynamic mixture of happy and hyper. He ran and squealed and ran some more. He giggled and belly laughed and smiled. He exuded joy. His reasons don’t matter (they never do), but it was interesting to again bear witness to the domino effect this can have on the average day around here.

It was Friday, which is generally one of my own personal favorite days of the week. It was sunny. And everyone I encountered just seemed to be in a good mood. Days like today spark a special kind of thoughtfulness in my heart and today was no exception.

When I stop and really let myself think about these bumps and bruises that happen so frequently around here, it’s a reminder of something real in life. It’s not just Carter this happens to. There are people out there who hit hurdles today. People who are trying to do too much too fast. People who can’t pull off that crazy combination of things regardless of how hard they try. And people who, for no good reason at all, are just bruised.

But they’re not broken. They’re okay. Because when they get back up and dust themselves off they become capable of enjoying a day like today.

A day filled with with many more smiles and giggles and joy than bumps and bruises. A day when you, also for no good reason, find yourself feeling on top of the world. That’s kind of how things felt around here today, which has led me to make a very important decision. Today I decided I am indeed on top of the world. And I’m not letting go.


The Right Questions

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:49 pm

“Love is a force more formidable than any other,” suggests American author Barbara de Angelis. “It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.”

Wiley's Wisdom

It could be any number of things. A cell phone ringing. An unrelated conversation with someone else. A to-do list that would take longer to complete than there are hours in the day. As a professional observer of people, I am here to confirm there are so many things that distract us from things that really matter on a daily basis.

It wasn’t anything extraordinary for my forever people today. Dad had an especially trying day at that place called work. Mom struggled to console baby Carter through one of his most fussy days yet. But today I watched with love as they pushed both of these things aside. Today they celebrated Valentine’s Day. And in doing so they celebrated each other.

Love. From the ground up, I watched it unfold before my little doggie eyes as dad put together a surf and turf dinner for mom. I saw…

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Like You Mean It April 23, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:38 pm

I’m not quite sure even how to explain it. Well, I do, but I’m just not even sure my words will do it justice. Though it hasn’t been without its fair share of strife, it’s no longer toothless. Yet it’s about more than just the mouth anyway. Happiness is

When dear baby Carter smiles, he smiles with his heart. His eyes sparkle and it’s almost like his whole body is smiling. Especially when the smile is combined with the screaming run he’s started doing around the various spaces of my forever home. It’s a sight to see and a sound to hear, take it from me.

So tonight when it happened more than usual right before bedtime, I feared for the routine. The sacred bedtime routine has developed into something of an art form, as my dear forever mom and dad waltz through night after night in perfect practiced harmony. The point of it all is to soothe and calm dear Carter into a mood for sleep, though that rarely happens now that he is a rambunctious toddler.

Peak a boo has not lost its hold around here just yet, and that was the culprit tonight. I watched as bedtime was delayed while Carter pulled his towel up and down on his face, and my people declared “peak a boo” and he smiled. And he laughed. So they smiled. And they laughed.

It is honestly one of the very best demonstrations of how contagious joy can be I’ve seen in a while. And while it might not be very simple to explain, the vision of it in my memory is one I plan to hold on to for some time. Because that is exactly how a real smile should be. I love you world

When you smile like you mean it, you smile with your heart. You see it in your eyes.

When you smile like you mean it, it catches fire. It’s contagious. Just like the joy that gives it life.


In Spite Of It All

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:25 pm

I wish it could stay this way forever.

Wiley's Wisdom

It’s kind of a mystery to me. And I think dad feels the same way. Lately this thing has been happening that doesn’t really make sense. At least not when you hear of this thing called post partum depression. It’s apparently fairly common for women after they have babies to feel a little blue. For some, it’s manageable and goes away on its own. Others need help working through it.

My mom has needed no such managing or work. She has looked at baby Carter through the eyes of joy and love from day one. This, in spite of her incessant lack of sleep. This, regardless of spit up and stinky foofters and messy diapers and occasional bits of screaming for no good reason. This, even after what I witnessed the other day.

There she was, holding Carter in the air above her, telling him how much she loves him when…

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Nothing To Fear April 22, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:34 pm

I would say it qualifies as one of my irrational fears. Something that, even if it were true, is silly enough to be set aside. I know it. Yet its very real to me. Since I make it my life’s mission to bring joy to the hearts of whomever I come into contact, it scares me to think I’ve been replaced. Morning love

Dear baby Carter has this ability to captivate a room much longer than I can. He can make people laugh with very minimal effort. And he brings so much joy to people without even meaning to most of the time.

Take today, for instance. My dear grandma came over to watch Carter while mom went to work and when she walked through the door, I knew something wasn’t right. I knew she had been sick with some sort of cold bug on steroids for the past few weeks, but it was more than that. She seemed stressed. And sad.

My observations were confirmed within minutes of her arrival when the tears started. She cried to my dear forever mom about several valid emotional things that are happening in her heart that have been affecting her mind. Mom listened, but as is the usual around here, I don’t know if she noticed I was listening too. And my heart was breaking at her words.

It didn’t last long because Carter woke from his nap. And that’s when it happened. Something switched in her eyes when she saw her little grandson running down the hall to greet her. Something switched in her heart when he ran into her and threw his arms around her neck. Something I realize I cannot do with my simple cuddles.

She was down, and he picked her up with nothing more than a day of his antics. She left much happier than when she arrived, and I think dear Carter might be to thank for it.

At first, I find myself disappointed in these situations. Because it brings my admittedly irrational fear about being replaced to life. Then I remember how selfish that is. And true joy isn’t about being selfish. It’s about being selfless from time to time. I haven’t been replaced. I still bring joy to whomever I can whenever I can. Now I just have someone to help me do it. There’s really nothing to fear about that.


Going For Gold

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:20 pm

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” -Walt Disney

Wiley's Wisdom

I wonder what I would look like in ice skates. Or skis. Or those goofy looking goggles so many athletes are wearing these days. It’s hard not to at least put some thought into these things as my people have been watching something called the Olympics so much lately.Snowy Dreaming

Whatever they’re doing at these Olympic games sure looks tough to me. Much of it involves snow and ice. And winning medals. But I definitely don’t need a set of those goggles to see its so much more than that. These athletes are living their dreams.

For many of them, this is something they’ve dreamed of doing since before they even knew they were dreaming. Since then they’ve practiced and trained. They’ve won and lost. And they’ve fallen. Hard. I was reminded of this tonight as I watched in horror as a women’s downhill skier took a painful fall in the finals…

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Pretty Little Moments April 21, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:36 pm

There was screaming. There were tantrums. And napping was a thing of the imagination today. Though there is usually a fairly reasonable explanation for this kind of behavior, the application of logic was lost on whatever was going on today.

Because the good significantly outweighed the bad. Right along with the screaming and tantrums was laughter and squeals of delight. I watched in awe as dear baby Carter continues to develop his skills helping mom unload the dishwasher. And then there was the moment that completely wiped out all things bad. A couple of mischief makers

It was a tender moment between a mom and her baby boy I’m sure they thought no one saw. Yet there I was, as I always am, in the right place at the right time.

It happened in Carter’s room as mom finished dressing him for the day. He looked right into her eyes as he gently stroked her hair (a skill he’s been practicing on me for months). “Pretty.” I heard him say. I didn’t think it was possible for mom, who already has a glow from being 8 months pregnant, to beam quite as brightly as she did in that moment. “Pretty hair?” she repeated. “Pretty,” he said again, in the exact same intonation as he did the first time. I couldn’t believe my ears.

At 15 months old, he is much more advanced at all things physical for his age. He mastered walking early, followed shortly thereafter by running, and now I’ve even seen him experiment with walking backwards. But when it comes to vocabulary, things are still pretty simple. Momma, Daddy and doggie are occasionally uttered, although I can tell he understands way more than he says.

So when this word, this beautiful word, came clearly out of his mouth today, my heart filled with joy.

“Life is a flame that is always burning itself out, but it catches fire again every time a child is born,” suggested Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw.

It didn’t matter that there were also tears and tantrums today. Those fires can’t stay burned out in the presence of this child. Because pretty little moments like these somehow manage to make all that other stuff completely insignificant.


To Live Afresh

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 6:55 pm

The, almost as soon as it was broken, it was whole again.

Wiley's Wisdom

I’m not showing off. When it comes to regrets, I just don’t have many. In fact, I think I can count them on one paw. And I can trace them back to one day. One day I wish I could relive. The day that changed my life forever.

It started like most other days of my young puppyhood – with my birth mom bringing my two brothers and I scraps from the garbage of a nearby restaurant. I remember snatching away the last bit of bread crust from my brothers. It was so petty of me – and though I wouldn’t know it until later, I regret it to this day.

Because that’s the last meal my little family would share before it happened. That was the day we got separated. The day we were on the road and the car just came at us so fast. When I saw…

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