Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Patience Is Virtue August 8, 2013

If there’s something us canines generally struggle with, it’s this people concept that patience is virtue. We’re not good at waiting. Stay is my least favorite trick. And don’t get me started on when dad challenges me to sit still until he says I can take my delicious rawhide. Patience is not my strong suit. But last night I got a glimpse at this virtue patience can bring. This sense of hope. Happiness. Light at the end of the tunnel.

I have been kind of a mess thinking about the story of Cabela, the dog who was blown up by a man in Washington a few days ago. I felt terrible when I finished blogging about it last night. I hate not being able to find a silver lining in any story. And it seems my negative feelings were contagious, based on the feedback I’ve gotten about the devastation, terror and grief this horrific story has sparked in people. Good News, All!

So you can imagine my relief when it happened, a mere fifteen minutes or so after I put my thoughts on this awful story out there for the world to read. I wanted to get involved somehow, to let someone know what happened is in no way acceptable. I wanted to do something. No, I had to do something.

On a whim, I sent a message to Cabela’s former owner Ty Freemantle all the way in Washington. I told him how sorry I was to hear the story, how scared I was that things like this are actually happening, and how helpless I felt to do anything about it. You see, there’s this thing about patience. It pays off. Granted, it didn’t take long so the employment of the waiting game wasn’t nearly as exhausting as it could have been.

Because I found my silver lining. Freemantle responded to my message almost instantly, sincerely thanking me for taking an interest in his story. Our conversation was brief, but the virtue was clear. The story broke a mere few days ago, and already Freemantle has been showered with thoughtfulness and prayers from people (and dogs in my case) all over the world. It’s no surprise to me that the animal lovers out there have united, as this is what we do. What did surprise me was what Freemantle said next.

He has decided to use his grief as fuel for positive change, which sounds an awful lot like a silver lining if you ask me.

“It scares me that maybe if I didn’t stand up he would have gotten away with it, and that someone else could do the same thing and walk free,” he said. “This set a fire inside me and I’m starting a organization to work on changing the animal cruelty law from such narrow specifications on what is and is not qualified.”

The ultimate goal would be to ensure that any act of aggression to an animal shall be punished by animal cruelty charges. As a survivor of animal abuse, I told him I am obviously a wholehearted supporter of his cause. I pledged to do anything I can to help. Because I know it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to happen overnight. And us canines are no good at being patient. But now that I know the good that waits at the end of the patience path, I’d say it’s worth the wait.

 

When Pigs Fly July 25, 2013

When pigs fly is one of those people phrases I don’t particularly care to support. Less is more? Sure. All good things come to those who wait? Definitely. But this pigs flying business is uncalled for if you ask me. The phrase is meant to say something will never happen or (if it does) it is incredibly unlikely.

Well I’ve got news for you. Pigs fly in my dreams all the time. They have little wings and they take naps in the clouds. They’re also animated because I like the way fake pigs smell much more than real pigs, but that’s beside the point. To me the phrase encapsulates a major problem with the way people think about the realm of possibility.

When Dogs Blog

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Albert Einstein, a man known and respected as one of the smartest in history, held imagination in high esteem. “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” he said. “It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” Some scientists might argue that imagination is the arch nemesis of knowledge, but Einstein knew better.

Today imagination made reality of some dreams I didn’t even know I had. When I started this blogging journey when pigs fly was equivalent to when dogs blog in my mind. Sure, I want to share my joy with the world, but does the world want to hear it? I asked myself this as I pondered my decision to start blogging, and doubt filled my little doggie heart. But it wasn’t too long before the comments started coming in and the blogosphere became a group of friends I look forward to seeing each day.

Shortly thereafter, I went all out. I opened a Twitter account, and a Facebook account, and a Gmail account. Then I waited. A few of my blog friends have found me on Facebook and some of my Twitter friends have found me in the blog world so I suppose you can say social media is doing its job. But email remained pretty empty so I didn’t check it often. (Checking it to find nothing made me sad, and I generally avoid things that make me sad).

So you can imagine my surprise today when I logged into Gmail and was greeted with 57 emails. It might not sound like a lot to some people, but it’s a lot to a dog. When pigs fly, when dogs blog, and now dogs are emailing. And there they were amidst my correspondence from blog buddies, Twitter pals and Facebook friends: emails from two different service organizations asking if I’d like to partner with them to spread the word about adopting rescue dogs. Would I like to share the word about rescue dogs? That’s like asking if I would like some peanut butter (which is only one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world!)

These partnerships are in the beginning stages, but I can’t help but think of Mr. Einstein’s words about imagination when I contemplate how I got to this point. The way I see it, imagination empowers the realm of possibility. Without it there is only the impossible. Do pigs fly? They sure do. And tonight I am flying right along with them.

 

Pawprints in the Sand April 22, 2013

Remembering RustyI heard some pretty sad news today. A doggie friend of mine out in cyberspace went to doggie heaven on Saturday. I was never fortunate enough to meet Rusty in person, but my mom and the people in his life were pals back in a place in time called high school. She remembers her time spent with him fondly, as I understand he shared my belief in joy, from the ground up.

His people have been showered with love and prayers on all sorts of social media today, and I find myself reflective of not only the blessing of life, but the blessing of the people (and pets) in it. I do enjoy my routines, but I can’t help but notice that sometimes the familiar scenery starts to lose its color. The characters don’t change much from day to day. One day blurs into another and it becomes all-too-easy to forget to pause to appreciate the tulips sprouting from the grass or the person who takes the time to pet you at the dog park.

Just as people funerals are meant to be a celebration of life, I pause today to remember Rusty in the way I know he would want to be remembered. Reading all the comments from his loved ones on Facebook this afternoon, I realized people and dogs alike need at least one Rusty in their lives. Every now and then, we need someone to help us through those tough moments.

I met my Rusty my first night at the Oshkosh Humane Society, and his is a legacy I will never forget. I had one of my darkest hours that night, to the point that I resigned to thinking it might be my last. Then I met my 15-year-old golden retriever neighbor Rusty and I didn’t know it then, but he would change my life forever in a single night. On this awful night when I had given up, Rusty reminded me that sometimes we get pushed on our backs to force us to look up and see some sunshine.Rusty

Like my Rusty, I’m certain the other Rusty in my life wouldn’t have wanted us to mourn his loss, but rather to carry on, as in the words of a popular song I just can’t get out of my head recently.

“If you’re lost and alone, or you’re sinking like a stone, carry on,” sings Nate Ruess of Fun. “May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on.” Best of all, the song reminds and encourages us all to be shining stars, or (as I see it through the lenses of my reflective day) to be a Rusty in someone’s life.

So today I pause in honor of the Rusty’s in my life to be conscious of my surroundings. I find myself thinking about my path in life, appreciating everyone who has carried me through my difficult times. I stop to find a way to carry on, to bring light to someone having a dark day, to be the Rusty someone needs to carry them through. Rest in peace, dear Rusty. You will not be forgotten.

 

I’m No Fool April 1, 2013

I don’t encounter many people in my average day. Generally, I see my adoptive parents and whoever mom and I run into in the neighborhood on our walks. I realized today one of many reasons that is simply not enough people time for me: I can’t share my joy with the world if I don’t encounter people with whom to share it. What a heartbreaking thought on this April Fool’s Day, a day traditionally reserved for happiness and merriment.

So I began this most recent holiday weekend with a challenge to myself to count every person I encountered. I wanted to bring joy to each of them, and count their smiles and laughs and successes on my mental scorecard. I may have lost the battle, but I most definitely won the war. While I was able to spend time 23 people who are blessings in my life, it was impossible to count their smiles and laughs. But I don’t see this as failure. I’m no fool, after all.

Twenty three was a pretty magical number for me this weekend. I eavesdropped on exciting conversations about career changes and upcoming confirmations, as well as sadder news of the recent funeral of a member of the extended family and word of an uncle being in the hospital. I performed tricks, played games and enjoyed more than my fair share of pets and love from every single person. I am exhausted today and I know exactly why that is the case.

As I half-daydreamed and half-napped my way through today, I realized something. I suppose it takes a certain amount of creativity and imagination for a dog like myself to blog. There’s definitely some who believe it’s silly of me to have Twitter and Facebook pages. And little ole me, publish a book? Forget about it. Here’s what all of those with little faith need to know: your doubt does nothing but fuel my passion to share joy that much more. I celebrate every single new follower on Twitter and Wiley’s Wisdom and do a little dance for joy when I make a new Facebook friend. Better yet, I embrace those who use social media in similar ways and listen with eager ears and a open heart to what they have to say. Hard at Work

The truth be told, I simply don’t see as many people as I wish I did in an average day. Please don’t misunderstand this as a complaint about my life in my forever home. I know it must be that way for other doggies and people alike. My dreams in life pour from the windows and doors of this place into a childlike vision of creativity and imagination into the wonderful world of social media where I too can be the difference I want to see in the world.

All Fool’s Day is a day to engrave the wisdom (of self-discovery) on our hearts, Sarah Ban Breathnach suggests in Simple Abundance. “It’s a perfect day for us to remember the importance of lightening up. A lighthearted sense of spontaneity is aligned with Spirit.” This is something I choose to not only remember today, but every day as I share my gift of light with the world.

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Sweet Sixteen: A Day to Remember January 21, 2013

I find inspiration in the oddest things.

Today is frigidly cold in Wisconsin, and I found myself seeking thoughtfulness in my (albeit brief) time outside. Nothing came to me.

Today was Inauguration Day, so I was sure I’d find something to say about politics. Yet I’ve got nothing political to say.

But like the man for whom today was named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

So I find today’s source of inspiration interesting based on my journey with Simple Abundance, which challenges that today, I should “be willing to believe that a companion Sprit is leading (me) every step of the way, and knows the next step.”

Today I challenge myself to be a dreamer, a version of me traveling through time with a companion sixteen-year-old self who ironically knows what is coming.

When you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is that a good thing?

Since one people year is seven dog years, it is not that difficult for me to think back to my “sixteenth” birthday. I’m not a wise 20-something in people years, but I believe I have the right to reflect reasonably upon the beliefs I had on by sweet sixteen.

My adoptive parents have this birthday tradition I enjoy involving a single-scoop vanilla ice cream cone for my special day. Oddly enough, I was lucky enough to get another un-birthday cone about two months following what would have been my fourteenth birthday…my sweet sixteen. I was fortunate to spend the special day with my forever people about a year after being in my forever home. It was a pretty special day for me because I spent it with my favorite people on a boat in what I would presume to be one of their most happy of places.My Sweet Sixteen

Reflecting on that day and every day since then is the best gift I could have ever been afforded. I realize now that life was (and continues to be) everything I could ask for, even if I’m not allowed on the boat anymore. (I’ll take responsibility for that).

Today is the one month anniversary of the beginning of this blog, so I find some value in reflecting on my first steps I took in belief that I could make a difference in the lives of others.

Today I hit a landmark 100 likes on my blog. This would mean enough to me if all I wanted to do was write, but (to me) this is a pretty big deal. It means I am meeting one of my most special goals in life to spread my joy to others, which most definitely brings me more joy than keeping it all to myself.

Today a companion spirit nominated my blog for the Leibster award, which absolutely made my day. I have more research to do on what this means for me, but I honestly can’t believe what an honor it is after a mere 30 days in the blogging world.

Today I became socially network thanks to Facebook and Twitter, which means I (hopefully) have a bigger scope of influence on my readers.

Today I connected. I made a difference in the world in my very own unique kind of way.

Today is a day to remember.