Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Blessed Life September 19, 2014

It was the strangest thing. There I was, walking along a familiar street wearing my same collar with my tags that read Wiley C. Schmidt. I was wearing the same walking harness I’ve had since forever too. I had the same leash attached, and I was wandering around the same neighborhood I have come to know and love.

But when I looked up at my forever mom, she was brand new to me. Even though I obviously know everything a dog can know about his person, it was like I had never seen her before.

And that’s when I woke up.Listen to your heart

Sometimes my dreams scare me. I know that sometimes people perceive whimpering while sleeping as a doggie daydream of all kinds of goodness. For me, that is rarely the case. I think maybe it’s because of the grief I still bear in my heart over losing my mom and brothers at such a young age or the homeless loneliness that followed. Or the denial I have in my heart about being returned to the humane society or being abused by the man with the leather belt. These are the things that haunt me in my sleep. These are the things I whimper about.

That is, until today, when I had the oddest dream I’ve ever been able to recall. It was like everything was familiar but I was meeting my dear forever mom for the very first time. And I won’t lie. That isn’t the worst thing to dream about in comparison to the usual.

I remember the day often. It was hotter than normal in Wisconsin, but that didn’t stop my would-be forever family from visiting me that day. I also can’t believe that was more than four people years (or the equivalent of almost 30 doggie years) ago. But alas, it was, and it is a day for which I frequently feel blessed.

“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another,” suggested English writer George Eliot.

It might have evolved out of the strangest thing, but Eliot’s words ring true for me. I’ve seen what joy looks like through the eyes of love. I’ve seen what it’s like to live my life. And I love every single moment. Because, in my humble doggie opinion, that is what it means to lead a blessed life.

 

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.