Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Sweet Emotion March 11, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:25 pm
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It can literally happen in the blink of an eye. It certainly did today, countless times. In one moment, a joyous and bubbly giggle fills the air of my forever home. In the next, one of the world’s happiest sounds is replaced by a soul-crushing scream of anguish.

I do find it happening a bit more frequently lately, with all the teething going on around here. I think that’s what led to the roller coaster of emotions I witnessed today, with the tears and the giggles somehow creating a symphony of emotional reality. Teething is not our friend

As dear baby Carter approached bed time, a time when he should have been pretty tired after not napping at all today, he exuded energy. And as I watched him run through the house with his bare legs hanging out (because his pants had already gotten changed twice, and it was warm enough for such silliness again today), squealing with joy, I couldn’t help it. Somehow that moment seemed to erase all the other not so happy ones scattered randomly throughout the day from my mind.

I realized, as the squeals evolved into more of a squeal/laugh combination, that is the magic of this emotional dichotomy. We all experience it in our daily life, but time has a way of training us to keep it inside. Time has yet to do that to Carter, who literally wears his heart on his (usually blueberry-stained) sleeve. So he laughs and cries and questions and thinks and laughs and cries some more (all in the span of 30 seconds) in a very public way.

Google SearchingThough it pains me to experience sometimes, I’m thankful to frequently bear witness to the emotional roller coaster ride of toddlerhood. Because it can literally happen in the blink of an eye. Laughter can become tears that quickly.

But, even better, tears can become laughter that quickly. And that’s life. Things have a way of happening that can sometimes take us by surprise. They can rock the emotional boat enough to completely change the tide. Taking control of the boat and immediately turning it back the right way? That’s a life worth living.

 

A Little Hug February 9, 2015

People give us dogs a lot of credit. And I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t completely deserved, at least the majority of the time. We have a way of picking up on emotions of our forever people and reacting accordingly. Whether its the small nudge of our nose into the hands of someone who is crying, or a flying leap into the arms of someone who is contagiously happy, we have our ways of relating to our people.

So I suppose I shouldn’t necessarily have been surprised to see what I did today. We have an innate sense for these things, so I guess it makes sense little people would too. But that still couldn’t have prepared me for what I witnessed this afternoon. Love. Unplugged.

Something I don’t fully understand was wrong with my dear forever mom. She got a phone call from her baby doctor and she wasn’t the same afterward. She seemed sad. And scared. Devastated might be an even better word for it.

So I did what any dog would do in reaction to the situation. I wagged and nudged and snuggled my way into that crevice much too small on the chair next to her so she knew it would all be okay. I know in my heart it will be and wished so badly she could know it in her heart too. But all of my efforts were for naught. The tears kept coming.

That is, until my dear little baby Carter intervened. Otherwise known as the toddler tornado, he rarely takes a break to sit still for more than a couple minutes at a time. He’s always on the move. Not today. Not in this moment.

He toddled himself over to the chair we were on and did the thing he does when he wants mom to hold him where he yanks at her scarf and essentially tries to climb her using her clothes. The second she obliged, it was like magic. He put his little head in that special spot by her heart and kept it there for what felt like a really long time to all of us (though I think it may have only actually been about 20 minutes). Time paused and I knew in that moment mom believed it would be okay.

I may be able to read people really well, but I may never understand what was bothering mom today. In that precious bubble in time, I realized that’s beside the point. Because I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that my dear 13-month-old Carter knew mom needed a hug today. Not just any hug either. She needed a little hug only he could give. So he gave it with all his heart, at least until one of the toys in the corner caught his attention and he was off to the races again.

Today he gets the credit. And I’m okay with that.

 

At Face Value November 13, 2014

It’s a long way away, but I have decided what I would like to dress up as for Halloween next year. It’s something honorable, something I wish I could be in real life sometimes. Plus, it involves black and white stripes, which is a bonus for me (as long as it doesn’t involve jail). For Halloween next year I would like to be a referee.

I say this because it would bring to light something I’ve often felt about the beloved people in my life. I spend a lot of time observing what happens around me, so over the course of my life I have come to know a few distinct truths about human interaction.

It’s messy. And complicated. And sometimes I think it would do better if there was someone to step in, intervene, and bring focus back to a conversation that veered so far off track that occasionally people can’t even remember why they started fighting in the first place. If I was a referee, I would do just that. I would remind people that whatever they are disagreeing about must not be as big a deal as it’s being construed as or they wouldn’t have all but forgotten it. I would remind to take words at face value rather than blowing things unnecessarily out of proportion. I would remind them they love each other.Alone with My Thoughts

Because it is indeed messy and complicated. But it’s also beautiful. I just wish it looked more like doggie communication sometimes. We love with our whole selves, no questions asked. Our world literally revolves around our people. They are number one, and we take everything they do at face value just as we deliver our love in its purest form.

But alas, I cannot speak. I can’t call a foul or push pause when I see a conversation go off track. At least not until I’m wearing my referee costume next Halloween. That’s when the magic is going to happen.

 

No Time Like the Present November 10, 2014

I realized today there are a lot of things I simply don’t believe in. Like counting calories. Or ghosts. Or crabby people. Or fretting over the small stuff.

Today I realized all these things have something pretty important in common. Life. From the ground up, it’s too short to waste time on these things. This is coming from me, a dog who has never had to worry about counting calories, doesn’t believe in ghosts, has openly expressed disdain for people who don’t take the lives of others into consideration, and embraces joy in all its unique forms.

Truth be told, just because I don’t necessarily personally battle with all of these things doesn’t mean I don’t understand and appreciate the impact they can have on the people I love. I know mom and other ladies in my life battle with the calorie counting issue on a daily basis and I hate it. I hate the way mom looks at herself in the mirror. She is beautiful regardless of whatever image she has in her mind of perfection.

Then there’s ghosts, which I think everyone has in some way, shape orStanding Strong form in their emotional closet. But ghosts represent the past, which is a place life is too short in which to dwell. I do believe it helps shape the present and, in turn, the future, but that is the only role it should play in my humble doggie opinion.

I think that extends itself right into the issue I have with crabby people. I do believe in remembering the person behind people, in the same way you would live the golden rule each day. In light of that, I wonder why folks would share their negativity with others. I find it to be unfortunately even more contagious than joy. There is no time like the present to move along with life.

Which is why I don’t believe in sweating the small stuff. There are all kinds of things that can put people into a bad mood if they let them. But I think that’s key. Life is how we proactively react to it as far as I’m concerned. Beyond that, it’s too short to waste time worrying about these things. There is no time like the present to start living.

 

Let It Go October 29, 2014

Apparently I live under a rock. At least that’s how I felt for a moment today as I heard a song I later learned has taken the world by storm. It’s not surprising to me at all that the song has become as popular as it has, with its positive message set to powerful chords. Throw that lyrical magic into a Disney movie for the kiddos, and you’re golden.

“It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small and the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all,” sings Idina Menzel in Disney’s “Frozen.” The message certainly must have different meanings to different people, as any well-written song does, but to me the idea of letting it go is the standout life lesson. Moving on. From the ground up, it isn’t always easy to do. Grass is grass

It wasn’t easy for me to let go of my birth mom and brothers after I lost them that fateful day all those years ago. Loss. It wasn’t easy for me to get over being returned to the humane society (twice). Rejection. It wasn’t easy for me to trust the hands of people again after the man with the leather belt. Pain.

These could all be some pretty significant emotional eyesores if I let them be. That’s the thing about negativity. It’s pretty powerful stuff. I know I talk a lot about the contagion of joy, but I feel like negative energy somehow manages to multiply with even more ferocity than the positive. I think it might be because the roadblocks we encounter in our daily lives can make it easier to complain about not moving ahead than to focus on how to actually do it.

To do it, you need to make a whole other decision. And it’s not always easy. You need to put aside the negativity for a fresh look on life. You need to move on. You need to let it go. Just like the (ridiculously popular albeit new-to-me) song says to do. Take it from me, letting go is the best decision I’ve ever made.

 

Things That Happen at Dusk July 16, 2014

I’ve gotten pretty used to the nighttime routine around here. Dinner, play, nap, play eat, sleep. Things have progressed slightly from where they were a few months ago, for which I am appreciative. Mom, dad and dear baby Carter spend a little more family time together than they used to thanks mostly to the six-month landmark that is solid foods.

Nonetheless, something happened today that departed from routine. And I’m not going to lie. I loved it. Moments after Carter went to bed, mom spontaneously decided she was going to take me for a quick walk around the neighborhood. This might not sound like much to the average canine, but to me it meant the world.

I can’t remember the last time I was out and about sans baby and carefree. While I realize this sounds like a complaint, I truly and sincerely digress. It’s not about that. It’s about things that happen at dusk and my love and appreciation for them.

Be it a random walk around the neighborhood, observing Carter’s bedtime routine, or watching the moving picture window known by people as the TV, it doesn’t really matter. I see stars in all of these things because these things spark happiness in the people around me.

Today, my stars multiplied because I felt like I was out living large with a chapter of my past. In what some might call the “good ole days,” mom and I adventured through the neighborhood (and sometimes even the dog park) on a daily basis. Obviously it has been some time since that has been the norm, but that doesn’t remove the importance of a thing like tonight from my heart.

If nothing else, it increases it. Because I’ve gotten quite used to the nighttime routine around here. It has departed (a bit) from the temporary eat, sleep, poop routine that was the norm a few months ago. And while that change has been welcomed, something else is welcomed along with it. While still increasingly important, routine needs to be broken every now and then. And when such a thing involves a journey to the past to which I felt like paying tribute, all is well in my little doggie world. So I say long live tradition and all it means for change.

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Always In My Head May 30, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:52 pm
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It probably sounds silly. Or crazy. Either way, I’m not shy about it because it’s true. My pal and I

You are always in my head. You, my beloved blogosphere reader of the abyss. I know you’re out there, in your various canine and people forms, and I love you so very much. Frequently I hear from you via the blog world and I’m not going to lie. Every single comment makes my day. Dear Cupcake and Ute and Lyn and Brother (you know who you are). And Huntie, though you’ve been busy lately, I know your love through your words on Facebook.

All of this is so important because it reminds me why I do what I do. I am what I always wanted to be when I grew up. It reminds me to search for positive meaning in every single day, which is a mission I can’t say I dislike.

Lately comments have slowed in frequency, which I know is because my reactions to them have been slower than they used to be. It saddens me more than anyone can possibly know if I’m losing people (or their four-legged buddies) because of my slow response times. Because, I need all to know, you can never say it enough. I love you. I appreciate you. And (in an effort that might be challenging for me) I appreciate your love for me.

Though I aim to share nothing but joy, I know sometimes my words inspire tears from my dear forever mom, so I apologize if that has ever happened to you. Because, after all, you are my friend and I have absolutely no intention of hurting you in any emotional way.

“A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same,” suggested American author and philosopher Elbert Hubbard.

So I know it might sound silly. Or crazy. But I’m not shy about it because I know it’s true. And therefore I thought it necessary to say. You are always in my head. But more importantly you are always in my heart. You are part of the reason for who I am today. For that I will be forever grateful.

 

 

Maybe You Can May 4, 2014

It happened almost four month ago. It was terrible. It was one of those things I couldn’t even talk about because it was so emotional. For everyone involved, it was one of those days of which we do not speak. You know the kind. The day you hate. Or regret. Or wish you could completely erase from the memory of anyone and everyone involved. For me, that day was January 9, 2014.What's that you say?

That was one of the only days in my life I honestly wish I could take back. The day I wish would have gone differently. The day I met Charlie.

It was innocent enough on the part of my dear aunt Morgan, who brought her new addition into my forever home. To be fair to her, she had absolutely no idea how I was doing or adjusting to the concept of having my new little person around 24/7. She had been an absolute God-send for my people those first few days, but as it pertains to the presence of another dog in our home…well, that was something completely it’s own.

Enter Charlie. A dachshund with something to prove. He loved my dear aunt so very much, but he did not love me. Or Carter for that matter. He came into our house with something to prove and I didn’t like it one bit. I don’t often feel myself overcome with any sort of overly protective nature, but it happened that day. Charlie and I, well, we did not get along. And, as a result, dear Charlie went back to the humane society from whence he came that day. And to this day I feel awful about it, while at the same time I know it was right how I reacted to him that day of days.

Proof came today when I heard some heart-stoppingly amazing good news. My dear Morgan finally found her forever doggie friend today. His name is Joey and he is a Pomeranian and I cannot wait to meet him. It is different than it was with Charlie in every possible way. Carter is older now. He can handle meeting a new four-legged friend. He basically told me so when I stared into my eyes yesterday.

Because one thing is for sure: Carter will be a forever dog person. This is something I hold dear to my heart, forever and always, even though it (probably) has more to do with how my people feel about animals. Rather than question any of it, I can’t wait to meet dear Joey because I know he will erase the memories of four months ago. Tomorrow I will meet dear Joey, and somehow I know life will never be the same. Because that dreadful day in February was one of those things you can’t take back. Unless, under the right circumstances, maybe you can.

 

I’m Sorry Now April 22, 2014

I don’t really know what happened. One minute I was in my happy place otherwise known as dreamland (chasing rabbits and other small vermin, of course). The next thing I know, there was crying. Well, it was more like screaming actually. Very loud and incredibly frantic screaming. Wiley! Wiley! WILEY!

I’m not sure how long it was going on before it finally woke me from my apparently deep slumber, but out I crawled from one of my favorite spots under my peoples’ bed and there I was. And there she was.

My dear aunt Morgan was in shambles. Absolute shambles. Her hair was strewn every which way. She was crying. And she was upset. She was incredibly upset. I did my best to cheer her up with all of my tricks. I snuggled and wagged and licked and none of it seemed to work. It was apparent. I was in the dog house. The worst part was, I wasn’t really sure why.

That is until mom returned home shortly thereafter. That is when I listened to the other side of the story. I thought he ran away, Morgan said, I thought he was gone. It seems to have startled her that I didn’t respond right away, I realized. This brought to light something I’ve always known but spend very little time contemplating. Baby Love

We often don’t know the consequences of our actions until it’s too late. A lot of things are said that we can’t take back. Yet we say them, they do their damage, and life goes on. A lot of things are done that have negative repercussions. A lot of decisions are made with little to no thought of their impact. All the while I know in my heart the power of the ripple effect. Everything we do, intentional or otherwise, has an effect on the world around us.

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life doing nothing,” as Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw suggested.

It doesn’t matter that I didn’t know what was happening. It doesn’t matter that in my dreams I was about to slay a whole coven of squirrels. What matters is the tears that resulted from my ignorance. The stress I caused with all kinds of unnecessary worrying about my whereabouts.

Because while it was certainly not intentional I learned a very important lesson today. I learned what it means to cause such confusion. Because I learned what is like to be loved. It’s not the first time, and I (while I don’t intend a repeat episode anytime soon) I am so very blessed in knowing it won’t be the last.

 

On Thin Ice March 8, 2014

Stunned disbelief. That’s what’s going on in the Schmidt home tonight. And it’s not the good kind.

Mom slipped on some ice in the driveway of my forever home today. I watched in horror from my lead in the backyard as she fell down hard like she used to before she got her leg fixed. Except this was her other leg. This was the leg she has relied on the last two years to keep her strong and stable while the other knee went through the ringer. This was the leg that got her through the terrible surgery to reconstruct the ACL, MCL and meniscus of her other leg. Feeling Blue

And now it seems the worst may have happened. When she described the incident to dad, she said her leg bent the wrong way and she heard a funny popping sound before it buckled underneath her. I’ve never experienced such a thing, but I know what it was like for mom the last time she did, and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. Let alone on my beloved forever mom.

I don’t know what to do for her. She hasn’t stopped crying all night. She seems so afraid. Afraid to walk. Afraid to fall down. Afraid to walk or fall down while holding baby Carter. She couldn’t bathe him like always tonight, or put him to bed. She couldn’t sway with him in the hallway as he cried. And it is breaking my heart.

All I can do is hope. Hope that it’s not as bad as she thinks. Hope that when the pain goes away, the knee will somehow stabilize itself again. Because emotions are on thin ice around here right now and I feel helpless. At least I have hope. Sometimes that’s all you need.