Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

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.