Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Food for Thought November 28, 2013

I think it’s a survival of the fittest thing. Except I’m not that fit. I think about food. A lot. I just like a good sampling of whatever scraps I can get my paws on. I would have to considering my prized nickname as the doggie vacuum cleaner. If it’s on the floor, it’s mine.Are you hungry? Always.

So it probably comes as no surprise that Thanksgiving is among my favorite holidays. It’s the one day a year (almost) entirely dedicated to food. Hours of preparation go into preparing turkeys and potatoes and stuffing and cranberry sauce and rolls and pumpkin pies. Don’t even get me started about the smells. And the tastes…well, that’s the tricky part for us canines on a day like today.

I don’t frequently get people food as a practice of my parents to keep me safe (or so they say). Not for doggies is a phrase I hear all too regularly. But let’s just say I know who to sit by (or under) on days like today. I have my people who sneak me little samples of turkey and mashed potatoes. And I love them.

I had at least one of these people at each of the stops on my Thanksgiving journey. Today I got to visit both grandma’s houses, which meant I got a lot of samples.

Today I was blessed to have these people at both stops on my Thanksgiving journey. I got to visit both grandma’s houses today. The table looked basically the same at each house, complete with a turkey and all of it’s trimmings. And I scored turkey and mashed potatoes from my accomplices (who shall remain unnamed).

Getting sleepy...But I noticed something other than the menu was the same at both the houses. It’s hard to believe, but it was something bigger than either of the turkeys. It was more prominent than the spicy pumpkin smell wafting through the air. After all of that preparation, the eating itself only lasted but a half hour or so. The leftovers were carefully divided up and stored away in the fridge. And that’s when real party started. Everyone was happy to be together. Thankful. Not necessarily for the food, but for the time together.

This occurred to me as I drifted off into my own sort of turkey coma. This day, Thanksgiving, is actually about so much more than food. (Which is a tough truth for someone as in love with food as myself to admit). Forget survival of the fittest. I could not survive if not for these people. I would much rather forgo my samples than be without them.

So (while I still appreciate the dedication to food that accompanies the day), I pause tonight to give thanks. To recognize the meaning behind the deliciousness. To embrace that today is actually about people coming together to celebrate each other. To tell stories (even if they’ve all been told before). To feed something other than our stomachs. For today we also feed our souls.

 

Mind Over Matter July 7, 2013

I won an argument with a fly today. It was buzzing around the house all day driving me crazy with its zigs and zags. The more it buzzed, the more I felt like it was taunting me. You can’t catch me! You can’t catch me! Oh yes I can, Mr. Fly. And (after yet another epic battle of the minds) I did. I caught you and all of your incessant buzzing, Mr. Fly!

It was a very different ending than a similar battle I had about two weeks ago. I lost the argument that day, after what seemed like an eternity of jumping, twisting, chasing and growling. Victory evaded me that day. But not today. Today I trade feelings of defeat for feelings of regret as I now feel like the buzzing continues in my tummy.

Not Feeling My Best

If there is something us canines don’t all fully understand it’s the people practice known as moderation. Our misunderstanding is probably at its worst when we’re puppies and have yet to learn the dos and don’ts of living with people. Do eat your food when it is provided to you. Don’t get so excited about your food that you spill it all over the floor. Do accept treats in reward for tricks. Do not beg for people food at the table. (Or, better yet, do not attempt to jump onto the table to retrieve the people food yourself). You get the idea.

Generally speaking, I don’t struggle with the concept. All good things in moderation. Understood. But I blame my nomadic lifestyle as a puppy for one area I lack control. I ate what I could when I could. There was no picking and choosing, and (when I was living with other street dogs) if you didn’t eat fast you didn’t eat. I know this is different in my forever home, where there is never short supply of dog food, treats, rawhides and various other chew toys. I would prefer this life to my previous time as a puppy nomad any day. Yet my mind always seems to beat my stomach in the ultimate battle royale in self control.

In the meantime, I seriously need to learn my lesson when it comes to eating live things. No matter how small, the pursuit is always more exciting than the finale. It makes me wonder about this mind over matter thing. It’s another one of those people practices that occasionally leaves us canines stupefied. But experience has taught me things that confuse us are often those most important for us to seek to understand. As American evangelist Charles Swindoll suggests, “the secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it’s a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free.” I suppose he’s right. I’d much rather have freedom in excellence than win a battle that leaves my tummy feeling funny.