Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Truth About Cuddling January 21, 2014

The sun deceived me today. There it was, all bright and happy, tempting me with its beauty. After a few days of dreary Wisconsin winter, it was a breath of fresh air waking to the beautiful sunrise this morning. I couldn’t wait to get outside to soak it all in.

I (not-so-patiently) waited my turn while mom changed, fed, and rocked baby Carter back to sleep. Then it was my turn. It was breathtaking. Literally. It took my breath away. It was all kind of sunny and a whopping two degrees outside. I was devastated.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. I know this is the norm in Wisconsin this time of year. But when I woke up and saw that beautiful sunshine, it’s like my months got all switched around. Suddenly it was July 30 and Carter and I were playing in the grass together. It was warm, but not just from the sun. It was warm from the love. From the ground up, love warmed my heart thinking about all the fun I have to look forward to this summer.

The breathless start to my morning was a pretty clear reminder that some time needs to pass between now and then. Some chilly and potentially dreary time. But as I am not in the habit of wishing time away, I realized later today it is a time to embrace.

Who needs the sun anyway? The sun may have deceived me today, but its message did not. Sometimes even when its sunny we need to make our own warmth. Because true warmth starts in the heart.Tummy time for two

So that’s what I did today. I snuggled with baby Carter and I had all the warmth I needed. Scientists undermine such things, attributing a dog’s desire to cuddle as purely logical. People are warm, so we cuddle. While there is some truth to that, warmth is not just a physical thing. There is more than one kind of warmth, and it is both kinds we canines seek in cuddling. The main source of warmth is that which we feel in our hearts when we are close to our people. Next to that, physical warmth is just a bonus.

 

 

To Give Is To Receive December 10, 2013

I wasn’t trying to be funny. It was all just part of my standard outside routine. But tonight it may as well been part of a stand-up comedy act. I assumed play stance to the left. And again to the right. To the front. And to the back. And so on, for about 2 minutes.

Do I have something on my face?Meanwhile I heard it from the other side of the screen door. A sound that warms my heart. My people were laughing together (rather hysterically I might add) at my antics. There are few things in the world I love more than that sound. I knew at an early age people laughter would be a favorite sound of mine, in situations not that unlike what occurred tonight.

The first time was the night my birth mom and brothers spent in a homeless shelter. It was a frigid Wisconsin winter night (just like it is tonight) and at the mercy of a little girl who saw us shivering outside the window we spent the night in warmth. But that wasn’t the highlight of my night. That happened later when I heard it for the first time. A little person laugh. The little girl was laughing at a movie we watched together that night called “An American Tail.” I didn’t know it at the time, but I would come to view that beautiful sound as my Christmas gift that year.

The same sort of thing happened the following holiday season, which I spent with Jo and the man with the leather belt. All I wanted for Christmas was to see her happy. And she was. It didn’t last long, but it didn’t have to. It was Christmas and she was laughing and that was gift enough for me.

This will be my third Christmas in my forever home, and I know in my heart what I am most looking forward to about it. I can’t wait for Christmas morning when mom and dad traditionally open their presents from each other. (And it’s not because there is inevitably a toy or treat for me under the Christmas tree).

Even more surprising, it’s not because of the gifts they receive. It’s because of the gifts they give. I don’t witness the shopping, but I do witness every other part of preparation that goes into their gifts for each other. That’s why I know it doesn’t really matter what’s inside the boxes.

Because they ultimately give each other the best gift of all. Joy. From the ground up, it happens in ways most people wouldn’t even find entertaining. Like my antics in the snow today for example. I didn’t mean for anything to come of that. But as laughter is the embodiment of joy, so the real gifts in life are those we give. Not those we receive.

 

Come In From the Cold December 7, 2013

It happens in an instant. And a few minutes later it’s gone. Call me crazy, but I get the zaniest surge of energy from being outside in the cold. It is 11 degrees in Wisconsin right now, which feels downright toasty compared to the 3 degrees it was earlier this morning.

And I love it. It’s like a volt of electricity coursing through my veins. It charges me up in a few short moments so much that I run around the house like a ninny for several minutes upon returning inside. If they made a 5-hour energy drink for dogs, this would be it. But just like those energy drinks, the moment passes. The high is inevitably short-lived. Not to mention there is a very thin line between just enough and way too much time outside in such frigid temperatures.Running Joy

It reminds me a bit of one of those late-night infomercials mom has been skimming over when the little person’s kicks wake her in the night. The salespeople are pitching all of these gadgets and gizmos that they promise will make life easier in one way or another. Yet I fear these too are quick fixes. So many of these things are not really solving a problem as much as they are pacifying them.

It made me wonder what I would tell the world if I had 15 minutes of air time (and could speak people obviously). Tonight when I came back in from the cold I got my answer. I was running amuck with no particular destination in mind. I galloped down the hallway to the master bedroom and that’s when it happened. Joy from the ground up. Literally. My people both got down to my level and we all played together. My joy (albeit sparked artificially by something in the freezing cold Wisconsin air) was contagious.

In that moment I knew what I would share with the world in my 15 minutes of fame. My sales pitch wouldn’t be a momentary fix. It wouldn’t promise five hours of energy. There wouldn’t be any of that “order in the next five minutes” and “limited-time offer” business. Forget the gadgets and gizmos. I know what will really make life easier in the long-term. Joy. In my world, it is not a limited time offer. It’s a way of life. And its warmth will outlast the cold every single time.