Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Circle of Love March 29, 2014

I don’t get out much. Between the never-ending frigidness that has been this winter and my forever people’s recent attachment to being home with my little person, it’s a reality of life lately. Walks around the neighborhood have been fairly nonexistent in this weather. Car rides are few and far between. And the dog park has been covered either in feet of snow or layers of ice for months. Such is life.Circle of Love

Every time I find myself feeling down about it something magical happens. This morning it happened during snuggle time. It’s always been part of Saturday morning in the Schmidt home in one way or another but its been different since baby Carter came home.

Until today. Today was special somehow because I was nestled between dad and Carter, and Carter was snuggled on mom, who was holding hands with dad. There we were. The four of us. Our own little circle of love. In that moment nothing outside that circle mattered.

The moment passed, the day went on, and I didn’t think it could get any better. But it did. Because today, after what feels like a very long time without leaving the house, I got to go on a car ride. Better yet, the car ride was to see extended members of the circle of love at Grandma Schmidt’s house.

My time there today more than made up for all of the time inside this winter. Not because I was the center of attention. That role obviously went to baby Carter. (It’s okay. I’m used to it.) Today I felt so much warmth, so much joy, it melted all that remains of winter away. It doesn’t matter whether it happens at my forever home or elsewhere. I was born to be with these people. From the ground up, such is life.

 

 

Riding in the Backseat March 14, 2014

This whole time I thought I had them both trained. Hoodwinked, if you will. In most respects, it is me they have trained, but not this one. This one was mine. This one I had in the bag. At least until today.

For almost four years, I have had my choice of seating on car rides. Front seat. Passenger seat. Back seat. They were all mine for the taking, regardless of what person of mine may be also occupying that spot. And it has been a variety of folks – from my great-grandparents to my new little person, it has been a variety of folks to share my place with. I just shove my cute little behind into the spot and give the person “the look” and they can’t say no.

That all changed today. Today I got in the car to discover some sort of seat contraption that appeared to be crafted in a way to limit my seating choices. The way it was installed communicated that I was to stay in the backseat regardless of my previous communication of appreciation for the front seat. I very much liked my spot with mom and/or dad in the commander seating that is the front seat and felt like I had been somehow disbarred.

That is until I remembered it isn’t just mom and dad anymore. Now it’s mom and dad and baby Carter. My little person. And he is safely secured in what I can only describe as an incredibly sturdy space shuttle of a car seat in the back seat I formerly despised.

I will be honest – I still prefer the front seat with my forever mom and dad. But at least the silver lining of this newly enforced regulation seems to be two fold. First, that dad insists its safer for me than if I were in front in the case there would be a crash. And second, that I get to be with my little person.

He’s not very aware yet, but he’s getting there. He’s started smiling responsively to my people, which makes them happy, which makes me happy. And I hope someday soon he responds to me like baby Alexis who smiles and giggles with glee in my presence.

Until then, I’m still happy to be sharing the backseat with him because I know there is more to it than that. From the backseat I can be his buddy. From the backseat I can be his friend. Really that is what matters in the long run. Amidst all that I can’t even remember why I cared about the front seat so much anyway.

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The Day Forever Changed September 1, 2013

My birth mother never cared much for cars. Or people for that matter. Put the two together into a moving vehicle? She usually kept her distance. Except for that day. The day that changed my life forever. The day we all got separated.

It started like any other day in my early puppyhood. We woke to mom going hunting for food, so my brothers and I wrestled until she returned. We feasted on a gourmet selection of leftovers she scavenged from behind a nearby diner. Discarded toast crusts were my favorite since my brothers usually stolGaining Perspectivee the ham and sausage scraps before I could get to them.

After breakfast, we would journey outside our cardboard shelter. I know mom’s intention was to keep an eye out for someplace better for us to move to even though I quite fancied our cozy hideaway. She always wanted the best for us though, and I will never forget that.

I don’t know what go into her that day, but she seemed edgy. Skiddish. Scattered. Her usual fear of cars and people was thrown to the wind as we paraded through the streets. My brothers and I followed (somewhat) blindly, trusting she knew what she was doing.

That’s when it happened. There we were in the middle of the road when not just one but two cars were coming at us full speed ahead. From both directions. My heart raced almost as fast as I did away from the imminent danger. I assume my mom and brothers did the same, though I will never know for sure. I ran as fast as my puppy legs would take me until I made it back to the cardboard box we called home. I waited there, knowing certainly that’s where we would all meet up. I waited a day. Every moment that ticked by felt like hours. I waited a week. Nothing.

I was devastated. The events of the day haunted my every thought as I wondered how I could somehow relive those moments. How I could make it right. I should have looked back, I thought. I should have waited for my brothers. I should have stopped running sooner so I could have seen where they went. All of these should haves, could haves, would haves still occasionally pop into my mind.

But how would life be different had I done “right” that day? Would I still be with my mom and brothers somewhere? Perhaps. But then I would never have met Tiger and his puppies. I wouldn’t have gotten to protect Jo from the man with the leather belt. I wouldn’t have learned optimism as a way of life from Rusty at the Oshkosh Humane Society. I wouldn’t have found my forever home.

All of this makes me wonder whether there really is a “right” way in life. Moreover, I wonder whether what we sometimes think is right actually is what’s best for us on our path. I may be an optimist, but I can’t say whether there really is a way to get life right. I know my mom’s way involved keeping her distance from cars and people. But that isn’t the right way for everyone. It certainly isn’t for me.

The day I was separated from my birth family was one I will always remember. That day I learned a very important life lesson that forever can change in a moment. Sometimes you can make it right. Sometimes you can’t. The thing is we also don’t always understand what’s best for us in these moments. We can’t always see the big picture through the cloudy lenses of now. But that’s why they say hindsight is 20/20. In reality there is nothing I would change about that day because it led me to where I am today. And I wouldn’t change that for all of the dog treats in the world.

 

A Pet’s Life For Me June 2, 2013

Being a pet in a funny thing for a dog. There’s so much about it that feels like we are fulfilling our purpose in life, and yet there are things we (as dogs) are bred to do that contradict with most pet etiquette. Don’t mark your (beloved) territory anywhere in your forever home. Don’t rub your furry self all over clean laundry. Don’t chew on your parents’ underwear. The list goes on, but today my preoccupation is with our urge to explore. (Also known as don’t run away off-leash in the neighborhood, even though I could navigate home in my sleep). 2013-04-04 15.21.13

Familiarity and routine are two words a dog grows to love, but there is something in our blood that urges us to get outside and explore. Travel the unfamiliar. Make our mark in new territory. I don’t think it’s that unusual. In fact, I think it’s a characteristic we share with our human best friends, given the famous words of poets and authors about taking the road less travelled and making paths for others where there were none previously. 2013-04-04 15.19.30

I do some of my best thinking on expeditions, regardless of what my forever parents would tell you about how easily distracted I get. (I’m just trying to soak it all in!) I love a good long walk somewhere new (or anywhere, for that matter) as much as the next dog, but it’s not my preferred method of transportation when I’m exploring the world. No sir. There is too much to see in too little time in this life – how could I possibly see it all on four paws?

Ever since I was a puppy, the concept of a car was so fantastical to me I could barely stand it. I remember seeing dogs hop into cars in parking lots and envying them before I even understood why. What’s not to love? I’m exploring the world from a much higher vantage point with my favorite people (at least until I get my doggie license figured out). I’m hanging my head out the window to feel the wind run through my fur. I could care less that my tongue is slapping me in the face. I’m in the zone!

I even have a preferred order of seating arrangements in the car: the lap of the driver, the lap of the passenger, then the center console. I’ve been told it’s terribly dangerous to squeeze my way into the lap of the driver (which is so sad because I love to feel like I’m driving), but I don’t mind any seat in the car as long as I’m close to my people pack enjoying the scenery all around us.

That’s what I’ve learned from being with my people pack for almost three years now. They are more special to me than any of my bad habits. Don’t mark your beloved territory anywhere in your forever home? Check. Don’t rub your furry self all over clean laundry? Working on it. Don’t chew on your parents’ underwear? Why not? 🙂 I suppose it’s worth it to give up doggie nature to spend the rest of my doggie life with these special people of mine. That’s the funny thing about being a pet. We are man’s best friend, fulfilling our purpose in life. We are exactly as we were meant to be.