Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

On Leather Belts and Baseball Bats July 17, 2014

It’s time to come clean about something. I have this thing with baseball bats. Mom and dad noticed it for the first time last year when dad started playing in a weekly softball league through our local recreation department. He would practice his swings and I would bark. It probably doesn’t sound like much, but for a dog who (literally) only barks at other animals when I see them on the television, this is a big deal. He would swing and I would bark. Coy Wiley

While my bark is certainly larger than my bite, I will be honest. I have my reasons. The man with the leather belt that causes me to run in fear at the sight of leather to this day (even though I know my dad would never hurt me) also liked to play baseball. He had a collection of bats, and one time when he was really (really) drunken, he whacked me with one of them. Or maybe two. I’ve tried very hard to push this out of my mind, but that’s the thing about cause and effect. Sometimes the cause has an effect whether we like it or not.

For me, that means I (to this day) fear leather belts and baseball bats. I know it’s funny, since I know in my heart no one in my current life would ever even consider the possibility of hurting me like that. But sadly that doesn’t erase the past. I see him, the man with the leather belt, with the baseball bat and I cringe inside. It doesn’t matter who might be swinging the bat, I simply can’t stand it.

So tonight when mom took dear baby Carter to dad’s softball game, I was relieved to be left behind. That never happens, mind you. I always (and I mean always) want to go wherever my people are going. Not tonight. Tonight I was happy to stay put, alone with my thoughts and reflections. It’s not such a bad thing to do from time to time, regardless of the reason.

For me, it was a reminder that everyone needs some time to reflect every now and then. Joy. From the ground up, it happens when life brings reality to moments, good or bad. In my case, I’ve learned from the unfortunate events of the past to embrace the exciting possibilities of the future. I’m no fortune teller, but I know there is fun in store.

 

Neighborhood Watch January 6, 2014

It’s been said more than once. Some have said it jokingly. Others have been more serious about it. Regardless of the reasons, the message is clear. I would make a terrible guard dog.

Watching the Angel SleepIn our neighborhood we are surrounded on either side by neighbor ladies who have been widowed, one of whom was especially enthusiastic about my impending ferocity when my people first brought me home from the humane society. It will be nice to have a dog guarding this neck of the neighborhood, she said.

Here I am, three and a half years later, and that could not be farther from the truth. My bark is rare, and every visitor to my forever home is greeted with fanfare and love. I do, after all, have a personal goal to share joy with whomever will take it, so why would I startle folks as they enter my home? It’s simply not in my bones.

Or so I thought. Then came baby Carter and suddenly everything has changed. Every little creak in the floor makes me jump, I find myself reacting to noises outside differently, and I have even uttered a protective bark or two at something other than the pig on the Geico commercials or the dogs with pretty teeth in the Pedigree commercials. I can’t describe the change other than that it feels instinctual, as natural as scratching an itch behind my ear.

“Follow your instincts,” American media mogul Oprah Winfrey suggested. “That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.” Sometimes I think its all too easy to start believing what people say about us. Especially when it’s not necessarily complimentary. I’m not really sure which side of the fence a guard dog falls on, since it usually isn’t a good thing to assume the bad in everyone instead of the good. But I have developed some pretty keen instincts in my time on four paws, and I think its time I start employing them. It’s been said more than once that I could never be a guard dog. I’ve got new reasons to believe that doesn’t make it true.