Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Paws for Prevention October 3, 2013

I need a haircut. I am scruffy and unkempt looking and I don’t like it. It doesn’t seem like it’s been long since I last visited Mary at Paws ‘R Us, but perhaps its because I actually like it there.

Don’t get me wrong, the bath part is pretty awful. Dogs are not meant to be sprayed, hosed and cleaned with a smelly soap that smells nothing like our natural doggie scent. But everything else about my time there is pretty special. I get to see all my pals, including the groomer Mary who always calls me handsome. And I get to ride in the car, which is always a plus.

Light Amidst DarknessI think it goes back to my time at the Oshkosh Humane Society where I associated grooming with attention, and associated attention with much-needed love. Tender loving care, I think it’s called. And whether it comes through a haircut, a golf game, or some time at a spa, we all need it every once in a while. It’s part of maintaining balance. Part of being alive.

I decided somewhere along the line to embrace my scruff in honor of a cause. Apparently people do this sometimes for things like Movember (mustaches for prostate cancer awareness). Well I declare my time of scruff-itude Scruffy September. And I know my cause. A people friend of dad’s shared a flier with me take struck a chord with my heart. “Walk your pooch to prevent suicide – Milwaukee Out of the Darkness Community Walk.” Sign me up!

I often talk a big game about being a light in the darkness. Here is my chance. Proceeds of the Out of the Darkness Community Walks benefit  the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the leading national not-for-profit organization dedicated to preventing suicide. Suicide. Its a foreign concept to most canines, but I know people who have been impacted by its aftermath. There is never a “right time” to lose someone, but being a loved one left behind as the result of suicide is a struggle I wouldn’t wish on anyone. You wonder what you could have done or should have done differently. You transfer blame. You grieve. Deeply.

It all makes me feel very silly obsessing about how badly I need a haircut. Maybe that’s the point. I’m lucky to be alive, regardless of how scruffy I might be. So I think I’m going to convince mom to take me to this walk. Because as Aristotle Onassis said “it is in our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

For more information on AFSP: http://www.afsp.org/

 

 

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.