Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Everything and Nothing January 15, 2015

Sometimes it’s hardly recognizable. Other times its clear as day. Ever since life as I knew it changed, a day in the life of me looks different than it used to. The intricacies of the daily routine are altered in most ways.

I’d come to be quite accustomed to spending weekdays alone in my forever home when my people were at that place called work all day. It fit quite well into my rigorous napping schedule, in fact. I would anxiously look forward to my forever mom coming home from work over her lunch hour so we could explore the neighborhood over her lunch hour. I would enjoy my late-afternoon nap in the bay window so I could more aptly hear the gentle hum of the cars coming home, first dad and then mom. The night together would come and go and it would all start over again.

All of that is a thing of the past, and has been since dear baby Carter came home. I see a lot more of mom than I used to, and when she’s not here, someone else I care about is (usually it’s my grandma or Aunt Morgan). My nap schedule hasn’t really changed, but my exercise has taken on a little different approach. It is a lot less frequent than it used to be (such things happen in sub-zero temperatures especially), but now it involves everyone in the family, usually at night, so that’s okay by me. Dont Worry, Be Happy

Tonight, as Carter made an art out of diving in and out of his ball pit and mom and dad and I played pickle in the middle, I was reminded how much has changed. Not just for me, but for all of us. Almost everything I knew is different now. And yet the important stuff is the same. Somehow everything and nothing has changed in the best kind of way.

“Things to not change; we change,” suggested transcendental thinker Henry David Thoreau.

The love around here is stronger than ever, the joy multiplies on a daily basis, and life is full with all things new. No two days are the same anymore, and while I will admit to liking structure, I’m okay with everything about the nothing that’s changed.

 

 

Things Live in Memories January 10, 2015

I would say I’ve lived a pretty full life. This year I will turn seven doggie years old, and I’ve seen a lot, witnessed a lot and learned a lot in my time living joy from the ground up. But even though that makes me the equivalent of almost 50 people years old, I know I haven’t seen it all. There are lots of people in my life who have been around a lot longer and seen a lot more.

Change. From the ground up, I find it’s everywhere. People change and adapt as the world around them evolves. I’ve even seen it as I’ve seen my dear forever mom grow (what some might say is) a bit too attached to her cell phone. The same conceptual device that she used to use to call loved ones has developed into a multi-functional tool. Heck, I can even remember in one of my other (temporary) adoptive homes, they had a phone that was attached to the wall. They had other things I rarely see anymore too, like a humongous box for a television and a record player.

From what I can tell, technology is one of the most rapidly changing things people need to adapt to. And while I feel there is a certain degree of caution that needs to be taken with any and all aforementioned devices, the concept behind the continued modification of society isn’t necessarily a bad one in my mind. Today will become tomorrow whether we like it or not. And that’s nothing to be afraid of in my humble doggie opinion. Hard At Work

I’ve seen a lot in my doggie life. I aspire to see a lot more. But that doesn’t give any less meaning to the things of the past. Though the things themselves may no longer be around, that doesn’t mean they can’t live on through the memories they helped create.

Like this person mom was talking to the other day who fondly remembers when he was seven years old watching the historic 1967 Ice Bowl on 12-inch black and white television with his family. He remembers everything about that day, in part because of that tiny little box that made it all possible.

All good things from the past are not lost. Sure, they are just things. But they are also memories. And memories are meant to hold on to for as long as we’d like.

 

As The Sun Rises September 17, 2014

Sometimes it’s incredibly subtle. Other times it hits me in the face. Literally. I speak, of course, of dear baby Carter and all the things that change with him on a daily basis. I frequently hear mom repeat the same response when people ask her how he’s doing. There is something new every day, she says. Treasure Seeker

Recently much of the change has been physical. He’s moving. A lot. He’s crawling all over the place and getting into all kinds of things he shouldn’t. Mom says she doesn’t think it will be long before he’s walking. And he is strong. You wouldn’t guess it from looking at his 20-pound frame, but take it from me – there is a whole lot of gusto in those tiny little guns of his.

But something happened tonight that struck me. It might have been a fluke. Like one of those things you can convince yourself of even if it might not actually have been the case. But I have a pretty keen sense of hearing and tonight I think Carter said the two most important first words he could ever say. Both have been making regular appearances in his daily babble fest of syllables right along with baabaabaa. Today there was something different though, like he was saying things on purpose.

“Mamamama,” he said when mom left the room to warm up his bedtime bottle. And, less then 15 minutes later, “dada” came out of his mouth as dad gave him his nightly bath.

As I said, it is possible this is all wishful thinking and just happened by coincidence. Because sometimes it is incredibly subtle. I’m pretty sure mom wouldn’t have even thought anything of it had dad not pointed it out. And then at bath time, well, it seems as though everything pieced together just as it should in that moment.

I know I’ve had my qualms about having a strong, mobile, babbler of a little person in my forever home. But he’s managed to do something pretty spectacular to my way of thinking. Change is not a favorite thing of mine, but he has changed how I perceive the unknown. As he grows, he changes each day. And as he changes, I realize he has changed me. I still love routine, but there is something about knowing tomorrow will bring something new again brings even more joy to each new day. As the sun rises, there will be change. And that’s a fabulous thing.

 

Things That Happen at Dusk July 16, 2014

I’ve gotten pretty used to the nighttime routine around here. Dinner, play, nap, play eat, sleep. Things have progressed slightly from where they were a few months ago, for which I am appreciative. Mom, dad and dear baby Carter spend a little more family time together than they used to thanks mostly to the six-month landmark that is solid foods.

Nonetheless, something happened today that departed from routine. And I’m not going to lie. I loved it. Moments after Carter went to bed, mom spontaneously decided she was going to take me for a quick walk around the neighborhood. This might not sound like much to the average canine, but to me it meant the world.

I can’t remember the last time I was out and about sans baby and carefree. While I realize this sounds like a complaint, I truly and sincerely digress. It’s not about that. It’s about things that happen at dusk and my love and appreciation for them.

Be it a random walk around the neighborhood, observing Carter’s bedtime routine, or watching the moving picture window known by people as the TV, it doesn’t really matter. I see stars in all of these things because these things spark happiness in the people around me.

Today, my stars multiplied because I felt like I was out living large with a chapter of my past. In what some might call the “good ole days,” mom and I adventured through the neighborhood (and sometimes even the dog park) on a daily basis. Obviously it has been some time since that has been the norm, but that doesn’t remove the importance of a thing like tonight from my heart.

If nothing else, it increases it. Because I’ve gotten quite used to the nighttime routine around here. It has departed (a bit) from the temporary eat, sleep, poop routine that was the norm a few months ago. And while that change has been welcomed, something else is welcomed along with it. While still increasingly important, routine needs to be broken every now and then. And when such a thing involves a journey to the past to which I felt like paying tribute, all is well in my little doggie world. So I say long live tradition and all it means for change.

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Through Chaos As It Swirls July 12, 2014

Four years. It probably doesn’t sound like much to the average person. But to the average four-legged friend, it’s a fraction of a lifetime. Seriously, four years for most dogs is equivalent to almost 28 people years. That is a long time. Four years. From the ground up, that is how long I’ve known real joy. That’s how long I’ve known what life should look like. That’s as long as I’ve known my forever people. And it does feel like a lifetime.Joy (six months ago)

Not because I plan to move along to doggie heaven any time soon. God willing, I intend to be around a while yet. It feels like a lifetime because I’ve watched the change, the growth, that can happen in a person. I wouldn’t say dad has changed much. He’s an emotional rock. He is steady, steadfast, and true to my dear forever mom. He provides for the family, both financially and emotionally. He keeps everything level. I am grateful to him for all of this.

Mom, on the other hand, has evolved since I’ve known her. When I met her she was struggling with a lot of different things. She had recently lost a job she loved two weeks before her father suddenly died. She had struggled with an eating disorder. And (perhaps worst of all) she turned to all the wrong methods of coping. But that was then.

All of that is behind us now. Through chaos as it swirls, we have emerged. And she has changed a lot since I met her. Please don’t misunderstand. She always loved dad and I bigger than the sky. But something about how she shows her love to us (and now dear baby Carter) has evolved over the time we’ve spent together.

I know four years doesn’t sound like a long time to the average person. But it’s a long time to me. I know life on the streets. I know life moving from adoptive family to adoptive family. And I have found my forever home. Within it, it has been an honor and my privilege to see my forever people grow together throughout my time here. Four years. From the ground up, that is how long I’ve witnessed the growth that accompanies sincere joy. And it’s pretty beautiful.

 

 

On Making Mistakes May 8, 2014

It’s happened to the best of us. We looked back on something and thought to ourselves “self, that was not the best idea.” That was absolutely the wrong thing to do in that situation. That was a mistake.

But as I am in the business of not having any regrets, I have come to view such things as important (and almost necessary) pieces of anyone’s life puzzle. I do say this with some authority in the matter, as I (not unlike most characters) have a past worth considering. I’ve made questionable decisions.

My Napping BuddyLike the day I defended myself (and my dear little person at the time named Jo) against the man with the leather belt. And the time I jumped the fence in my attempt to escape from my first (failed) adoptive home in Port Washington. Or, most recently, the time I chased that rabbit around the neighborhood of my grandma’s house the night before mom had baby Carter. I gave my poor beloved forever mom an emotional heart attack that night that I still wish I could take back.

I’m not sure why I relived all of these images in my daydreams today. Or at least I wasn’t until I noticed something dear Carter did. One minute he was there in his jumping gismo, happy as ever. The next, he was not. He tried to get his big ole baby foot out of the jumper and ended up in a very uncomfortable position. Not sure whether he’ll make that mistake again.

But I suppose that is indeed the point of it all. Because let’s be honest. It has happened to the best of us. We’ve all done things in life that we find questionable later. Things we wish we could take back. Things we deem to be mistakes.

But, as usual, I agree with Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, who challenged that “a life making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life doing nothing.” I think sometimes we need to make these mistakes to remind ourselves where we are at in life. We need to make these mistakes to remember the lessons from them. We need to make these mistakes to live.

 

On Precious Moments April 12, 2014

I often wonder what it would be like if life had a remote control. If we could stop and pause and fast forward and rewind segments like I see my people do when something is particularly funny or if they need to leave the room for a few minutes. What happens when something is particularly funny in life? There’s not really a way to duplicate it again because you can’t rewind. And when times get rough? You can’t fast forward.

But I do think we have within us the capability to pause the present from time to time. To stop and appreciate a precious moment (or moments) in time that brings life into focus. I’ve heard mom say this is what the better part of the first three months of Carter’s life were like for her. In a way, she says she felt like she was in a time warp. Like somehow the world outside didn’t exist and it was only our little family enjoying each other in those (albeit) trying times. Rolling Over

I think you emerge from something like that – from a time warp, or pause in the rat race of life – a completely different person. Whether you pause for a second or for three months doesn’t matter. You see things differently. Feel things differently. Live differently.

Something I’ve found observing my little family since my beloved little person came home is that no one wants to miss anything. And (while at times) this is not always the best attribute, I do feel that it has within it a level of context that should not be misunderstood. Every moment is precious.

Baby Carter rolled over a bunch today. It didn’t seem like that big a deal to me, as I roll over all the time. But my people stopped cold – paused – and relished in what is apparently some sort of developmental milestone in a little person’s life. It was such a little thing that meant so much.

It made me think about the little moments that happen in a person’s life that make a difference. Not just for the person who decides to hit the pause button, but for whoever else happens to be around when it happens. It took me back to that fateful day when the snow fell from heaven and mom and I went outside and I didn’t know what came first – her laughter or my wagging tail.

That’s when I realized we actually have the only remote control button we really need. We have within ourselves the ability to pause to be thankful for the present that is the present. Who needs rewind and fast forward when you have the present?

 

How Stories Are Born April 7, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 10:08 pm
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I wasn’t expecting it. Which made it so much worse. Tears. From the ground up, they happened quite unexpectedly tonight.

It was mom’s first night away during baby Carter’s nighttime routine. You know the one, with the bath time and the singing and the praying and the rocking. It’s a family affair, and tonight mom missed out. And while everyone will admit it wasn’t the end of the world, even I could sense a certain sadness in the air.Use The Force

Mom was busy listening to local residents voice concerns about a cell phone tower obstructing their view of rural suburban life instead of being there. Rocking and praying and singing. I know it probably sounds silly because dad is obviously perfectly capable (and willing) to take over in her stead.

And, I won’t be the one to tell mom this, but he did a great job. I don’t think he missed a single step, and Carter smiled like a doll the entire time. But that’s not the point.

Not when mom doesn’t’ want to miss it. She doesn’t want to miss anything in our dear little person’s life. Therein lies the reality of life as I know it.

I don’t think anyone ever sets out to miss something. Especially when that something is deemed by the powers that be as one of life’s important once-in-a-lifetime kind of moment. But that train is one of many that leave the station every day, and you can’t be on every train. You can go crazy trying, but I’m certain it’s not possible no matter how badly you want it.

It wasn’t an easy night around here, especially since it took me by surprise. I wasn’t ready. But are we ever ready for moments of distinct change? I will never know. Instead I embrace what I do know, which is that no amount of change goes without missing something. But that’s how stories are born.

 

Making It Happen March 31, 2014

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That Isaac Newton sure knew what he was talking about. Thanks in part to treats involved with training and learning tricks, I’ve become something of a connoisseur on the topic through my doggie life. To Making It Happen

Sit. Get a treat. Lie down. Get a treat. Do nothing at all but look really (really) cute. Get a treat. Well, the last one only works every now and then. But the point is it does work. To think my beloved people think they are the ones training me! That’s what I want them to think.

Meanwhile, I got to thinking of this action and reaction concept today as it was mom’s first day at her new place called work. And as I reflect upon how this change came to be I realized something pretty powerful. It’s easy to be reactive. But something pretty awful comes with that territory. I think when you are completely reactive to the world around you, it is easier to find yourself waiting. And waiting. And then the waiting can bring with it negative thoughts about waiting. Suddenly the waiting becomes an inevitable dance with destiny and the result often isn’t worth the wait.

The solution isn’t this waiting game. It isn’t waiting for something bad to happen. The solution is to be proactive instead of reactive. Make it happen. Make the good happen.

That’s what mom did when she decided to change jobs recently. She stopped waiting. Instead she did. She made it happen. It wasn’t easy. And the transition isn’t going to be easy. But I have a feeling about this change. I think it’s for the best. And I’m not just saying that because I think I will be seeing more of mom as a result. I’m saying that because I really want her to be happy. Sadly there are no treats I can give her to reinforce happiness. (Wouldn’t it be nice if there were?)

Instead I remember that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Because that Isaac Newton definitely hit the nail on the head with that one.

 

Jumping For Joy March 30, 2014

Apparently it’s frowned upon. It’s one of those behaviors that helps earns a dog (who shall remain unnamed) the title of obedience school drop out. It’s one of those things that makes a lot of people say “no!” in loud voices. Jumping. From the ground up, it is literally one of my life’s true conundrums.

JoyBecause my forever people seem to like it. From day one, I have reacted to the simple motion of a person patting their legs while standing as a cue they would like me to jump into their arms. Obviously that must be why they are patting their legs like that. So I use the imaginary springs in my legs to jump two or three feet into the air and voila! Success for all parties.

Unfortunately not everyone understands this gesture as the sign of joy it is meant to be. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that the thought of catching my 23-pound frame would seem daunting if one is physically unprepared. But it got me to thinking today about the unique power of the unexpected.

The unknown. From the ground up, I know it can be scary. And usually there is no way to prepare. But if we overcome it by bringing fear to purpose, it can become a beacon of joy. If we let it.

This is not to say my methods of jumping for joy are always the best. To each his own. At least I know it works for me. And for my people. And, as it turns out, it worked on the photographer visitors that were here in my forever home recently. It turns out they didn’t forget about me at all. They actually included me in a second version of the commercial, which begins with a lovely image of mom and baby Carter.

Of all things, I was jumping. There I am doing the thing that most dog trainers frown upon. The naughty thing that gets dogs like me kicked out of obedience school. The thing that seems to elicit the “no” response more than most other things I do. There I am doing what I do best. Jumping for joy. I don’t think I will ever be convinced it’s such a bad thing.

To see the second version of the commercial: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=573205620437&l=8948471090623811603