Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Not-So Little Luxuries September 7, 2013

It’s kind of like counting sheep. It’s my understanding people do this sometimes to calm their minds into falling asleep. This would never calm a canine mind (for obvious reasons) but my method sure does bring me peace. I count my blessings.

The list includes the obvious characters who make up daily life (like mom and dad), as well as the less obvious things (like my special spot under my favorite tree in my backyard). Today I noticed something about the list I couldn’t keep from sharing: it never seems to get shorter. Instead, it seems only to grow to include more of the obvious (and not-so-obvious) luxuries in life.

I recognize this in itself is a blessing, and yet it got me to thinking. What would happen if something fell off the list? What if one of life’s not-so-little luxuries went away for some reason? Which could I not live without?

My constant flow of healthy food and water came to mind, followed closely by their (slightly less necessary) tasty counterparts peanut butter and bacon. And Mr. and Mrs. Prickles. Losing them would be a major problem. But I know my people would never let me go hungry. And (as much as I hate to admit it) Mr. and Mrs. Prickles are indeed replaceable (exhibits A and B: Flea and Angry Bird).  My Comfort Circle of Characters

It wasn’t until later in the day I realized what ties the list together. I tend to think through these things around the same times each day. Morning and evening. Both times have something very important in common. My bed. And I’m not talking about the dog bed in the kitchen. Nor do I understand the appeal of a dog bed (which comes home smelling like a factory) compared to a people bed (which contains all of the smells of our people us dogs long to be near at all times).

My SpotIt was not an easy battle to conquer either. I took mom down first with what I fondly refer to as “the look” combined with my persuasive cuddling skills. Getting dad to agree to the arrangement was a whole other game entirely. I had to be strategic about it. And patient. Until one night (after more than two years of effort on my part) “the look” and my cuddling skills struck again.

Since then I’ve secured my spot in the bed and I will not let it go for all the dog treats in the world. It’s ridiculously comfortable. It smells heavenly. And it’s where I count my blessings at morning and at night. But the more I think about it, I suppose even the bed itself is replaceable at least to a certain extent. Because (as much as it is indeed the coziest bit of people-smelling cloud a dog could ask for) it’s so much more than a bed.

As American screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola reminds us “I like simplicity; I don’t need luxury.” I suppose I don’t need luxury either. I just need my people. It’s that simple. So as I count my blessings tonight from my perch on the bed, I give thanks not for the comfy cloud itself. Rather I give thanks for its representation of the love I have for my people, and their love for me. Ultimately I think that is the luxury I truly could not live without.

 

The Perfume of Life June 12, 2013

Dog noses can pick up some pretty incredible scents. We can be trained to hunt for illegal drugs and missing persons. We can find buried treasures in the backyard we stowed away for a special occasion. We can smell that pepperoni pizza before the pizza delivery guy even gets out of his car. Regardless of what we use them for, the dog nose is a pretty priceless asset to us canines.

I use mine for all sorts of good (and evil…that garbage can never sees me coming!), including breathing in all the fabulousness of life I can handle. The fresh green grass after dad finishes with that loud contraption called a lawnmower. The bacon I occasionally get to sample after Saturday brunch. And (perhaps my favorite scent of all) the smell of my people.

I’m not talking the smell after they do their ritualistic readying routines involving various forms of scented shampoos, hair styling products, perfumes and lotions. I’m talking about their natural people smell. It might sound weird, but that is one most heavenly smells to those of us who are fortunate to find forever homes. To us, that is the smell of happiness, love and true joy.

Jess (at 10 weeks) and IAll of this came to the forefront of my doggie heart tonight when we got a visit from my mom’s good friend Jessica (also known as mom of my doggie pal Diesel). From the moment she walked in, I was absolutely enamored with her smell. And while my mom immediately attributed my obsessive sniffing to smelling Diesel, I knew better. I knew better seven months ago when Jessica was frequently visiting my mom after her knee reconstruction surgery, and I know better now. She smells like life. And I’d choose the smell of life over that of any designer perfume.

Sure, there was a faint underlying sense of vanilla and cocoa, but my heart paid no attention to that. She sat on the couch and I couldn’t help myself from sniffing all over her rounded tummy and nuzzling up against her hair. I only half heard the conversation she was having with my mom about how she is feeling with just a few days left before the baby is born. She can’t wait to meet the baby, and (to be honest) neither can I. It smells so good already and it’s not even born yet!

I don’t think I realized it until today, but this smell of life might be my new favorite people smell. It’s not really something I’ve been exposed to in the past, and I’m not likely to be exposed to it too often in my doggie life. So today I breathed it in with all my might because it truly is special. I was reminded at some point amidst my epic sniff fest that a dog’s nose can smell some pretty spectacular things. There are many moments in a dog’s life that we unconsciously give thanks for our gift of smell, but today surpassed that for me. This was no buried bone or pepperoni pizza. I smelled life today. And it smells fabulous.

This post is dedicated to my pal Diesel, who in a few precious days, will become a big doggie brother to baby Sternard. Congrats dude!

Dieselmeister