Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Everyone Wins June 24, 2014

It’s pretty silly. It’s one of those things that probably would be classified by most of us four-legged folk as embarrassing. But I don’t really care what people think. I know happiness. I know joy. From the ground up, it happens in these moments. Silly or otherwise.

When it comes to tricks and training, my dear forever mom has always taken the lead. From her, I’ve perfected sit, stay, roll over, play dead, give kisses, and a host of other talents I’ve come to know and love. While I love the treats (especially anything involving bacon or any imitation thereof), the joy I see run across the faces of my people is a treat in itself. Hugs

What dad and I have is different. He’s been the primary initiator of my favorite family game (otherwise known as pickle in the middle), but lately he’s done more than that. He’s been my primary buddy ever since dear baby Carter was born, and though I had my reservations about this at first he has not disappointed. He’s surprised me with a number of new things, such as catch and (my personal favorite) hugs.

Here’s the thing. I know it’s pretty silly, but I’m not too much a (doggie) man to admit I need a hug from time to time. And the best part is, dad always seems to know when those times are. I don’t know how he does it, but that’s no matter. Because when he does, it’s the kind of moment us canines live for. “Wiley, come give me a hug,” he says. And I do. And I’m not lying when I say it brings my heart just as much joy (if not more) than it does him.

I think it’s something frequently forgotten about by people these days. And although I personally believe everyone needs a good hug from time to time, it doesn’t have to happen in hug form. It can be a smile. Or a caring conversation. Or anything really, that involves truly and sincerely caring for another being.

It probably sounds silly, but I don’t care. Neither did a favorite American poet of mine named Shel Silverstein, who once wrote “I will not play tug o’ war, I’d rather play hug o’ war. Where everyone hugs instead of tugs. Where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug. Where everyone kisses, and everyone grins, and everyone cuddles, and everyone wins.”

That is the kind of world I chose to make for myself. Won’t you do the same?

 

Raindrops Keep Falling May 2, 2014

Rain drops keep falling on my head. Literally. It’s been pretty rainy and dreary around here lately. Enough that it’s getting to my head a little. I don’t know why I let it happen, but suddenly and seemingly randomly I’m overcome with a feeling I prefer to avoid. I feel sad. Blue like the sky isn’t. Downright bummed out.

And it hurts. I am the dog who finds joy in people places and things. I can’t be letting a few dreary days get to me. That’s when I remembered this trick I’ve heard mom talk about a few times. It’s a game she plays with her mind and wins with her heart. Perspective. From the ground up, it’s  a pretty powerful thing. Love in Truth, Truth in Love

When you are encountered with a sticky situation (be it emotional or otherwise) think about the worst possible thing that could happen, she says. Nine times out of ten that worst case scenario will be so far out of the realm of possibility it is destined to bring relief to your soul.

It’s a good idea to be sure. So many terrible things could have happened today. Someone could have knocked down one of those candles mom lights all over the house and the house could have burned down. Carter could have gotten hurt, or sick, or worse. I could have gotten into an altercation with the neighbor dog on my walk.

I think it’s great that mom loves her new job in the news business, but I personally am in the business of ignoring news. Today I caught some news by accident and got my answer to the question of what the worst possible thing would be to happen today. Stories of tornados wiping out whole cities and local moms dying after bouts of cancer and a teenager who was arrested after police got word of his detailed plot to kill his parents and school mates. These are real things that happened in the world today.

Meanwhile, I’m cozy and comfortable in the comfort of my forever home. I had food in my dish and water in my bowl. I have my toys and my health and my people. And, as usual, I had more love thrown my way than I could possibly catch. Rain drops keep falling on my head. Which, I’m not going to lie, is getting a little annoying. But there is a silver lining in even the worst case scenario. Perspective. From the ground up, it’s a pretty powerful thing.

 

On Being Incorrigable November 4, 2013

We all have our reasons. I realized this today as mom called me incorrigible for the millionth time. There I was (minding my own business) conducting my usual after-dinner scavenge all over her clothes and bam. There’s that word again. Incorrigible.

I figured its about time I gain a better understanding of this word, as it differs from most words (like cute, lovable, and adorable) that I’m more accustomed to being called. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Bing defines incorrigible as “impossible or very difficult to correct or reform…unruly and unmanageable.”Who are you calling incorrigable?

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about this word being on the aforementioned list of adjectives with which I prefer to associate myself. I wouldn’t consider myself unruly or unmanageable. And I have my reasons. I’m not ashamed when my people call me a multipurpose vacuum cleaner/broom combination. It’s true – I do indeed seize even the teeny tiniest little scraps the moment they hit the floor. I won’t deny that I scavenge and beg even though I get scolded for it. Because I have my reasons.

I can remember when I was living on the streets and we ate whatever we could find. I know what hunger (to the point of starvation) feels like. When I close my eyes, I can still remember the words of the doggie doctors at the humane society when I was first taken in there. “He looks like he hasn’t eaten in days.” And I hadn’t. These memories have developed into habits I do indeed struggle to break.

I’m convinced this is probably why my people call me needy from time to time as well. Lately I’ve perfected the skill of pawing at dad’s feet when I want something. I don’t think he always fancies it (out comes that incorrigible word again), but I don’t let that bother me. My people get their fair share of snuggles, and I am not shy with showing affection with visitors.

If I recall correctly, Marley (a personal idol of mine of John Grogan’s Marley & Me) also earned the incorrigible nickname a great deal. Mr. Obedience-School-Drop-Out himself. The way I see it, I’m in good company. And like Marley, I have my reasons.

My incorrigible nature runs deep. It’s an ode to my past as I live my present. And that is something I refuse to change. If that makes me incorrigible, then so be it. Because I aspire to be like Marley, who was incorrigible in good ways that outweighed the bad.

“A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his,” Grogan wrote. “(Marley) taught us the art of unqualified love. How to give it, how to accept it. Where there is that, most other pieces fall into place.” What do you know? Some things are worth being incorrigible about.

 

Fear to Purpose: My Restoration Movement March 3, 2013

I sometimes wonder what the people who took care of me at the humane society would think of me now. I know my doggie adoption profile highlighted my ability to “sit” on command, said that I would probably be best in a home with children older than ten people years, and referenced behavioral issues I had in my past adoptive home. But I’ve been with my forever family for two and a half years now, and I’ve come such a long way.

In addition to “sit,” I can now catch, shake, lay down, rollover, play dead and give high fives and kisses like they’re going out of style. I’ve always gotten along with the little people in my life, all of whom were under the age of ten when I met them. And I will never forget the day my adoptive parents took me to the behaviorist (a required stop for me in the adoption process) and the behaviorist said I was one of the smartest and most well-behaved dogs with whom she had ever worked.

I guess you could call me the life-size doggie representation of restoration. Defined by Bing as giving someone or something new strength or vigor, my restored perspective on life is in line with that of Walter Scott, a spiritual man whose name is synonymous with the Restoration Movement.Bringing Fear to Purpose

“Look back, and smile on perils past,” he once said. You see, my personal experience has taught me to find value in the unhappiest of times because it is in those moments we find the most powerful sources of strength and perseverance. Just because I would prefer not to return to the Oshkosh Humane Society doesn’t mean I don’t find value in my time there.

I did spend the majority of my time in a cage questioning everything about my purpose in life, but in the meantime I met Rusty and several other unique canine characters and the people there took good care of me. Every day I feared I would never get adopted because I was too old or too hard to train. But I have found that fear, in these dark moments, brings purpose to those who let it. Now I welcome opportunities to bring fear to purpose in my life. Like Phillip Phillips reflects in “Can’t Go Wrong:”

I’ll take the best of what I can from my  mistakes
And now I know, now I  know
I can’t go wrong, as long  as I remember where I’m from
Hold  my head up just to keep it clear
I  want a chance just to face my fear, face my fear

Forget that garbage about only being able to sit and needing behavioral training. I think the people at the humane society would be proud of me for facing my fears and bringing purpose to my life.