Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Dust In The Wind April 20, 2014

It could be as silly as a lost toy. Or as heartbreaking as a forever person. There is truth in the philosophy that sometimes it takes the loss of something to recognize its value. But the instigator in me can’t help but challenge this particular truth to a dual. So to you, truth, I stick my wagging tail in the air and dare you to chase me. Dreaming Big

Because it’s there. The elephant in the room. The meaning behind the ideology. The real truth. Appreciate what you have while you have it and you won’t have to worry so much when it’s gone. It’s why I didn’t use to believe in bucket lists. They seemed to morbid, too sad and too real all at the same time. But that’s because I had it all wrong. A bucket list shouldn’t be something you put together only when you get horrible news. It shouldn’t be squeezed into the last few precious days, months, or years of life. No. A bucket list should be lived.

I turn six people years old next month. That’s approximately 42 in people years. I’m no spring chicken anymore, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be young at heart. Just as it’s never too late to dream big, I realized today that there is nothing morbid about a bucket list if it’s put together for the right reasons. So today I put mine out there, in writing, for the world to see. Not because I’m dying, but because I’m living. The future starts now.

A Bucket List – Wiley C. Schmidt

1) Publish a book

2) Eat a hot dog (with ketchup and a bun)

3) Meet a celebrity advocate for animals (maybe Ellen? Or Ian Somerhalder?)

4) Go on a blind date

5) Run a marathon with mom

6) Meet and properly train my doggie replacement in the Schmidt family

7) See a movie at the theater

8) Attend a sporting event

9) Travel to Tennessee (I hear it’s beautiful there)

10) Have a steak dinner with my people

11) Watch the sunset over Lake Michigan

12) Master a trademark trick

13) Become a best friend to a little person

14) Swim in a lake

15) Ride in a fire truck


A Simply Spiritual Sanctuary February 21, 2013

I’m no stranger to feeling like an outcast. To feeling neglected and misunderstood. My misfit memories bring back visions of loneliness and hopelessness I often try to forget. But today is a day to remember. Today is a day to reflect and paw it forward to my fellow outcasts and misfits.

Today is the day because of a dream I had last night that I was gifted a plot of land and endless resources to do with it what I pleased. I know it sounds silly to afford a terrier like myself with such a gift, but I did not hesitate. The choice was simple. I had heard about a foundation that was raising money not just to provide a sanctuary for outcasts like I once was, but to offer them a second chance at emotional freedom from rejection.

“Through the art of compassion, the continuously devastating issue of bullying in our country could be approached in an intensely impactful manner that encourages healthy relationships,” the ISF web site reads. “We will bring the bruised together as a family to learn just how unique–and just very the same–we all are…and how if we unite…we are NOT the outcast, we ARE the UNSTOPPABLE. We believe in the understanding that all living creatures deserve dignity, love, compassion and the right to life.”

Bing defines sanctuary as “a safe place, especially for (those) being persecuted.” I was lucky. I found my refuge when my adoptive parents brought me into my forever home. I find my refuge every day when I have food, water, and the love that ties it all together. Not a day goes my that I don’t wish that for all of my brothers and sisters who have yet to find it.

It was that easy in my dream. I wished for my land to become the ISF sanctuary and it happened. I was there with them somehow, and we were all happy together, united in our misfit and outcast spirits. The grass was a beautiful green, the birds were singing and all was well with the world. I can’t remember the last time I was so disappointed to wake up.

I don’t know how it was that the sanctuary came to life in my dream. I wished the it to be and it was. It was that simple in my dream. If only it could be that simple in real life.


Paw it Forward: Spring to Live February 2, 2013

It probably surprises no one that I am a lover of spring and an admirer of 1800s poet Christina Rossetti. She was a lover of life, words and any combination of the two. “Spring is when life’s alive in everything,” she once said.

I love life, so I love spring. The resulting words are ones of appreciation for what happened today. Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow in Pennsylvania this morning and he didn’t see his shadow. Halleluiah! That means spring is coming early this year!

What better way to celebrate the life in spring than to reflect on what it means to us? A favorite author of mine Mark Twain believed life is best lived for a reason. “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living,” he wrote. “The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

With that I find myself reminded of the world that isn’t always as positive  as the lenses through which I choose to see. I’m reminded of the commercials (you know the ones) with the melancholy melodies, forlorn faces and tear-jerking thoughts illustrating the unfortunate struggles of beaten, abused and neglected animals. I’m reminded of some terrifying facts, which I have decided to share with you today.

Of the 5 to 7 million companion animals who enter animal shelters in America every year, 3 to 4 million are euthanized, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).  APSCA also suggests it is impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.

What I gather from these statistics is there are millions of animals a year that are killed because they have no one to take care of them. As a former shelter dog, I know what its like to live without people involved. As if that’s not bad enough, getting euthanized because the shelter couldn’t afford to care for you anymore? That is absolutely devastating. What a terrible way to go.

I know I’m lucky to have found my forever home, but this renewed appreciation for all of life’s details reminds me of the importance of paying it forward. My brothers and sisters in canine and feline homelessness deserve to find a life as blessed as mine. So I find myself wondering how someone as little and insignificant as me can help make that happen. I pay it forward by  being aware of the resources that bring revitalization and life to the world.

Spring Forward

Be a voice for the speechless. Every donation means something to these special organizations.

Globally – There are a ton of organizations out there raising awareness of animal rights, fighting animal cruelty and promoting a better future for all those who deserve it. The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is one of the well-known organizations that is working to defend our rights and promote adoption.

Nationally – As appreciated as the work of ASCPA may be, there are a lot of other (much less known) groups out there making a difference in the lives of animals. These groups need your help just as much (if not more) to make a difference. Among them is the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, which “aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.”

Locally – Your local humane societies need your help. I came from the Oshkosh Humane Society. I wouldn’t trade my forever home for my room at the shelter, but I am genuinely thankful for the life I had there. The people cared for me like no one ever had, which made an otherwise scary time that much easier.

Be a home for the homeless. You won’t regret it. Cats, dogs, and other animals alike, we have hearts that love bigger than the world.

Do you feel like embracing spring in a way you’ve never experienced? Bringing a new life into your home is one of the best ways to bring refreshment and renewal to your life this spring. For me, the Oshkosh Humane Society was my train stop before I found my forever people. Where is your companion animal waiting for you?

Spring is a time for fresh starts and renewal. Why not pay it forward this spring by offering a new life to someone in need?