Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

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

 

Patience Is Virtue August 8, 2013

If there’s something us canines generally struggle with, it’s this people concept that patience is virtue. We’re not good at waiting. Stay is my least favorite trick. And don’t get me started on when dad challenges me to sit still until he says I can take my delicious rawhide. Patience is not my strong suit. But last night I got a glimpse at this virtue patience can bring. This sense of hope. Happiness. Light at the end of the tunnel.

I have been kind of a mess thinking about the story of Cabela, the dog who was blown up by a man in Washington a few days ago. I felt terrible when I finished blogging about it last night. I hate not being able to find a silver lining in any story. And it seems my negative feelings were contagious, based on the feedback I’ve gotten about the devastation, terror and grief this horrific story has sparked in people. Good News, All!

So you can imagine my relief when it happened, a mere fifteen minutes or so after I put my thoughts on this awful story out there for the world to read. I wanted to get involved somehow, to let someone know what happened is in no way acceptable. I wanted to do something. No, I had to do something.

On a whim, I sent a message to Cabela’s former owner Ty Freemantle all the way in Washington. I told him how sorry I was to hear the story, how scared I was that things like this are actually happening, and how helpless I felt to do anything about it. You see, there’s this thing about patience. It pays off. Granted, it didn’t take long so the employment of the waiting game wasn’t nearly as exhausting as it could have been.

Because I found my silver lining. Freemantle responded to my message almost instantly, sincerely thanking me for taking an interest in his story. Our conversation was brief, but the virtue was clear. The story broke a mere few days ago, and already Freemantle has been showered with thoughtfulness and prayers from people (and dogs in my case) all over the world. It’s no surprise to me that the animal lovers out there have united, as this is what we do. What did surprise me was what Freemantle said next.

He has decided to use his grief as fuel for positive change, which sounds an awful lot like a silver lining if you ask me.

“It scares me that maybe if I didn’t stand up he would have gotten away with it, and that someone else could do the same thing and walk free,” he said. “This set a fire inside me and I’m starting a organization to work on changing the animal cruelty law from such narrow specifications on what is and is not qualified.”

The ultimate goal would be to ensure that any act of aggression to an animal shall be punished by animal cruelty charges. As a survivor of animal abuse, I told him I am obviously a wholehearted supporter of his cause. I pledged to do anything I can to help. Because I know it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to happen overnight. And us canines are no good at being patient. But now that I know the good that waits at the end of the patience path, I’d say it’s worth the wait.

 

In An Instant August 7, 2013

It doesn’t sound real. It sounds a bit like one of those stories that show up next to the alien encounter reports in the tabloids. It’s just too terrible to be real.

Yet it seems it’s true (or at least allegedly true, per the legal jargon). A 45-year-old Washington man recently blew up his daughter’s dog because he believed it “had the devil in it.” The man, named Christopher Dillingham, is accused of strapping explosives to Cabela’s neck, which killed her immediately upon impact. As if that’s not bad enough, it took several days for animal cruelty charges to be added due to what I would argue is a technicality. Since the lab was killed instantly, state legislators claimed at first it technically couldn’t be considered cruelty.

Plenty of things happen instantly, but from what I can tell that never negates the severity. On the contrary, it is in these seemingly unimportant moments that lives change forever. Disaster rarely strikes when we’re expecting it, so I generally think preparing for the worst is a waste of emotional resources. Instead I hope for the best. In An Instant

But in this case I see no best. I am struggling to find a silver lining. Sure, the man is in jail on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, possession of explosives, and (a few days later) animal cruelty. And I don’t know a lot about people money but I do know $500,000 is a large amount for bail. But this man took a dog’s life. When a person takes another person’s life, it doesn’t matter how quickly it happens. Murder is murder. Cabela will bring joy to that little girl no more.

I have nothing positive to say about this. Truth be told, the whole thing breaks my little doggie heart. It doesn’t even sound like a real story. But it is real, to both the little girl left behind and Ty Freemantle, who gave Cabela to the family six months ago. To them, she was family.

To one who doesn’t cross over to this side of the thinking bridge very often, I’m finding this negativity thing exhausting. And I don’t plan to make a habit of it. Still I find some peace tonight in preparing for the worst. In embracing my family with all my heart. In counting my blessings and giving thanks for everyone I know. In breathing. Because at any instant it could all be gone.

 

Hands: Heads or Tails? February 24, 2013

Mr. Prickles slipped his little hedgehog self under the couch again today. Darned slippery hardwood floors. No matter how hard I try, I always struggle trying to dig my little pals out from under there. And it is almost always to no avail. Inevitably I end up pestering mom or dad to use their long arms to dig out whatever misfit toy I’ve lost that day.

It’s an almost daily occurrence in the Schmidt house, so I generally don’t think anything of it. Today was different. Today my mom also grabbed out a little silver nickel stamped with the year 2010 on it. As I watched her fingers wrap around the token, I found myself pondering where I was at this time in 2010.

I closed my eyes and it happened. It’s like I was there again.

I saw him, the man who made me fear leather belts. The man whose hands made me crumple into the smallest version of myself. It wasn’t just me his hands hurt. I shudder to my core when I remember watching in horror as he lashed out at Jo. At the tender people age of six, Jo was my only friend in the world at that point in time. And her little people hands were my favorite. When she pet me, I felt her love through her hands. She was always so gentle; such a happy contrast from the awful man who abused us both. I loved her so.

You can imagine how I reacted the first time I saw what the man was doing to my poor innocent little Jo. I had heard about it on the streets, but I never thought I would see it firsthand. So I did like anyone would do – I interceded, and as a result I became the brunt of the beating that time. I don’t regret it.

It happened a few more times before the last time. I caught that man’s ugly hand with my mouth and I bit down as hard as I could. Well, that was the end of that. The next day, the man left me on the side of the road in the bitterly frigid February of 2010. It took me a while after that to see hands the same way. It wasn’t probably until I adopted my mission statement of joy that I started to trust people hands again. And I’m so glad I did.

It’s like American singer-songwriter Jewel says in “Hands.”

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we’re all OK
And not to worry ’cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won’t be made useless
I won’t be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear

Hands can do so many things. They play musical instruments in the most beautiful of symphonies. They can piece together the most unbelievably delicious delicacies. They can radiate love through a delicate touch. They can retrieve beloved toys from underneath couches. They can love. And they can hate.

My hands are small, I know
But they’re not yours, they are my own
But they’re not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken

I think of Jo often, praying she is okay without me there to protect her. I remember the loving twinkle in her eye and somehow that gives me peace. Love almost always conquers hate. Of that much I am certain. Now when I see people hands I pause to respect the love they give instead of the hate.

 

It Only Takes a Seed February 11, 2013

It has been almost two months since I started to actively water the seed of joy in my heart. I know it has always been there, waiting patiently for a little tender loving care. And like any seed, I find it needs the right balance of water, sunshine and love to blossom into what I always knew it could be.

This blog is my source of sunshine, as my daily decision to see the good in people and things has illumined new sources of joy in my life. And as my little seed of joy continues to grow, so does my desire to share it. At first I thought writing a blog every day would be a challenge, but that daily attention to my seed of joy has made all the difference in the world. But water and sunshine don’t complete the photosynthesis process. Rather, as the roots of joy grow deeper in my heart, it is the love and support I receive from readers that brings the process full circle.

French novelist Marcel Proust once said of friendship “let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Today, I am grateful to the gardeners of the seed of joy in my heart. You know who you are. To everyone that has read, liked, followed and shared my blog: thank you.

A special thank you to Viva Violet for being the first to nominate me for a blogger award. Translated from its native German, “liebster” means sweetheart, darling, beloved, liked very much…you get the idea. So thank you Viva, nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award. To complete my nomination, I need to follow a couple of rules, to which I am more than happy to oblige:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to their blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees;

3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been chosen.

4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

Viva has challenged me to answer the following questions:

1. What’s your zodiac sign? Do you think it describes you accurately? I was certain this could not possibly make sense for me in the canine world, but a little research I did on the topic surprised me. A Taurus is described as a dependable, persistent, loyal, patient and generous personality with weaknesses like possessiveness and laziness. A Taurus will generally follow the leader and can be stubborn, but makes an excellent friend. Loved ones are incredibly valued and protected in my world, which (admittedly does) also involve a great deal of napping.

2. If you could buy anything in the world, what would it be? I would buy a home for all the homeless pets in the world. And if that’s dreaming too big, I would donate money to local humane societies and lesser known foundations like the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.

3. Would you want a squirrel for a pet? Why or why not? Is this a trick question? I am a terrier after all. I think it’s best if I stick to stuffed squirrels.

4. Are politics an appropriate tea time discussion topic? It depends on the company. Some things are better left unsaid.

5. Have you ever lost a friend? What happened? I lost the best and most influential friends I ever had when I was separated from my mom and brothers. I remember them fondly, and I hope somewhere out there they are as happy as I am.

6. What’s an extreme sport you want to try? It’s a toss up. Twiggy (the waterskiing squirrel) and Tillman (the skateboarding bulldog) are two of my heroes. It would be a riot to learn either of those skills.

7. Have you ever been to a concert? What was it like? Music is my muse. I love the poetic rhythms and beautiful lyrics weaving together in inspirational goodness. So I can’t help but wonder if they will ever let dogs into the kinds of concerts I want to go to. Phillip Phillips was in town this past weekend and I thought about writing a petition that (as one of his biggest fans), I should definitely be allowed to attend. Would anyone be willing to sign it such a petition?

8. What was your favorite thing about being a teenager? According to most dog-to-people year conversions, I was a teenager when my mom and dad brought me into my forever home. It doesn’t get much better than that.

9. Do you have a phobia? If so, which one? I have a few, mostly dark ones related to my past. I am deathly afraid of vacuum cleaners, brooms, power tools and leather belts. I’d rather not get into why.

10. Are you a pets person? I’m going to flip this question around to ask if I’m a people dog. And I think the answer to that is a resounding YES.

11. Do you like odd numbers? I like the underdog, so I will say yes.

11 Random Facts About the Wonderful World of Wiley

(Some are linked back to older blog entries)

I sleep smiling (most of the time)

I rub myself all over clean towels because I don’t like that they don’t smell like my people anymore

I make audible grunting sounds when I’m completely content

My favorite toy is Mrs. Prickles (with Flea in a very close second)

I dream about changing the world with my perspective on joy: from the ground up

I’m a huge Green Bay Packer fan

My favorite music of the moment is the new album by Phillip Phillips

Some call me needy. I prefer affectionate.

I love finding new ways to make people smile

I don’t bark unless there is a dog, elephant, talking pig, talking cow or any other animal (real or animated) on the television

I love my mom and dad. A lot.

All of this would be in vain if not for the opportunity to paw it forward, so alas I’m going to nominate 11 bloggers who are inspiring and have been especially supportive of Wiley’s Wisdom. Even if they have more than 200 followers, please pay them a visit.

http://momentsbymissy.wordpress.com/

http://scrapydo.wordpress.com/

http://theseeker57.wordpress.com/

http://hopethehappyhugger.wordpress.com/

http://barkshire.wordpress.com/

http://rachelmankowitz.wordpress.com/

http://misifusa.wordpress.com/

http://melaniejeanjuneau.wordpress.com/

http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/

http://lplk.wordpress.com/

http://theloneshewolf.wordpress.com/

Finally, 11 questions for my nominees:

1) If money weren’t involved, what would you choose as a forever career?

2) What causes do you support, why, and how can we get involved?

3) What is the first item on your bucket list?

4) What is your personal life philosophy?

5) If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?

6) What is the most important life lesson you have for your child/children? If you don’t have children, what is the most important life lesson you’ve learned and who did you learn it from?

7) What is your favorite quote?

8) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

9) If you could bring anyone back from the dead, who would you choose? Why?

10) Tell me about your favorite pet.

11) In what do you find the simplest of joys?

Thank you again Viva Violet for this honor, and thank you again readers for being gardeners of my joy.