Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Last Word August 25, 2014

Apparently it’s normal. It’s one of those things most dogs do that I don’t. The doggie last word. From the ground up, it’s a game I infrequently play but often observe. My time with my cousins Buddy and Joey provides me with a wealth of knowledge in the area of this and other normalized doggie behavior.

Most recently, I observed both of them in something a person may have perceived as an argument. We all saw it as play. They were growling and grappling with each other. They wrestled and barked and wrestled some more. And just when I thought it was all over with, Buddy ruffed. Then Joey. Then Buddy again. And the next thing I know, they were at it again with the wrestling.

Partners in crimeMom and dad had their own kind of wrestling match today when they stopped home from that place called work over their lunch breaks. Carter was in rare form this morning, waking up at random times, screaming bloody murder, breaking things and trying to eat my food.

More than once, he made his way for my doggie food bowl, each time when a parent dared look the other way for some reason. He did not succeed either time, in spite of his relentless efforts, but it certainly disturbed me (as well as my forever people) thinking of him eating my food. Not at all because I don’t think he would not like the taste, but instead because of the danger it could be to him.

All in all, it was a challenging day. It was one of those days that makes a person (or both of my forever people in this case) throw up their proverbial hands and go to bed longing for tomorrow. Alas, that was not an option for any of us, but that wasn’t the worst thing.

Because apparently it’s normal to want the last word, and today was a rare instance where I not only wanted it, but I had it in my little doggie paws. Today it was a game I played in rather than observe. Today I provided much-needed comic relief. I played with dad and Carter while mom was away at that place called work tonight. I stayed close to mom when she was home instead of escaping to my thoughtful places like under the bed. I wrestled with dad while Cater napped.

Today I had the last word. And in spite of everything else, that word was joy.


Standing In A Moment September 27, 2013

There’s this thing about dogs. New breeds continue to emerge on a daily basis, both of the mutt and purebred variety. Some have pointy ears. Others have fluffy tails. Others weigh more than some humans. But underneath it all, we all have a few things in common. Most of us like to play. A lot of us have a crazy obsession with smelling whatever we can get our nose into. And the majority of us don’t always know what’s in our best interest. Beyond that, there are a couple of things that unite us all – including (but not limited to) our perception of time. Big Time Thinking

It’s kind of hard to explain in a context other than a story like what happened to me this week. My people left me at Grandma’s house with my cousin Buddy on Wednesday. I didn’t know how long I would be there, and at first I was downright miserable. That is, until Buddy’s contagious joy struck a cord with my little doggie heart. We chased around the house and I got lost in the moment with my friend and our silliness. In that moment, I decided to live it up at Grandma’s house. Why not?

It wasn’t long before my heart reminded me why not. Time. It’s a dog’s best and worst friend. I love it when it’s on my side, and despise it when it’s not. (I suppose this can’t be that different than the human perspective on the matter). Why is it that time seems to slow to a complete halt when we’re anxious or looking forward to something? And then when it happens it happens in the blink of an eye?

That was today for me. This morning Grandma kept teasing me about how my people were coming home today. One might think this made the day fly by as I waited for their return. Not so much. I paced. I whined. I sat and stared at Grandma. Where are they? Didn’t you say they’d be back soon? I asked her these things silently, hoping she could somehow read my mind and tell me not to worry. Time. My worst friend. I waited and waited and finally, it was time. Grandma had me outside when they arrived and I couldn’t contain my excitement. I showered them with doggie hugs and kisses. Time. My best friend.

“Time is the coin of your life,” suggested American poet Carl Sandburg. “It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.”

There’s this thing about dogs. We’re playful. We like to smell anything and everything. We don’t always know what’s good for us. But above all we love people. Much of our coins are spent loving people. Case and point: I love Grandma. Even though she told on me to my people about my whining by the door after they left the other day. And therein lies the one thing that (above all) ties all canines together regardless of our differences in appearance and personality. Sure, we all have a similar perception of time. But beyond that we love people. People are our universe. And our people — my forever people — they are the world.


The Mouse Will Play September 25, 2013

I guess it’s called denial. That sense of refusal to acknowledge something we wish wasn’t happening. That’s how I started my day today. The dreaded suitcase was out and I could sense this would be a people-only adventure. In spite of my best efforts and employment of “the look,” my fears were realized when we made our first stop at grandma’s house. I was being left behind.Doggie Love

I should have seen it coming. All right, all right, I did see it coming. I just convinced myself it wasn’t happening. I was in denial. And I’ve got to say – that is not a very happy place to be. It was a couple hours after my people left me with grandma and my cousin (grandma’s dog) Buddy that I realized what was happening. I was sulking by the sliding patio door when it happened.

Buddy bit my butt. That’s right. He came up behind me and nipped at me right by my tail. I was beside myself. I turned around, ready to make him regret it (why couldn’t he let me be sad?), and there he was – his tail was in the air wagging like crazy, begging me to chase him, and there was a playful sparkle in his eye. And so it began. We started what became an epic race in circles all around grandma’s house.

In those 15 minutes I forgot my people were gone. I was lost in the moment with my friend and our silliness. As my favorite transcendental thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson said “it is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”

And stupid we were. Buddy, my buddy, reminded me (amidst our ridiculous game of chase) to live in the moment. When we finally took a break, I paused to reflect on his life to this point. His struggles have been incredibly different than mine and yet we’ve ended up in the same position. We both bring joy from the ground up to the world in our own unique way.

Thanks to Buddy’s contagious joy, I’m not in denial anymore. I’m not sure how long my people will be gone, but I know they will come back. And until they do I’ve decided to live it up here at grandma’s house. What’s that they say about the cat being away? The mouse will play? Consider me the mouse for the next few days.