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

 

It Only Takes a Seed February 11, 2013

It has been almost two months since I started to actively water the seed of joy in my heart. I know it has always been there, waiting patiently for a little tender loving care. And like any seed, I find it needs the right balance of water, sunshine and love to blossom into what I always knew it could be.

This blog is my source of sunshine, as my daily decision to see the good in people and things has illumined new sources of joy in my life. And as my little seed of joy continues to grow, so does my desire to share it. At first I thought writing a blog every day would be a challenge, but that daily attention to my seed of joy has made all the difference in the world. But water and sunshine don’t complete the photosynthesis process. Rather, as the roots of joy grow deeper in my heart, it is the love and support I receive from readers that brings the process full circle.

French novelist Marcel Proust once said of friendship “let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Today, I am grateful to the gardeners of the seed of joy in my heart. You know who you are. To everyone that has read, liked, followed and shared my blog: thank you.

A special thank you to Viva Violet for being the first to nominate me for a blogger award. Translated from its native German, “liebster” means sweetheart, darling, beloved, liked very much…you get the idea. So thank you Viva, nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award. To complete my nomination, I need to follow a couple of rules, to which I am more than happy to oblige:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to their blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees;

3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been chosen.

4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

Viva has challenged me to answer the following questions:

1. What’s your zodiac sign? Do you think it describes you accurately? I was certain this could not possibly make sense for me in the canine world, but a little research I did on the topic surprised me. A Taurus is described as a dependable, persistent, loyal, patient and generous personality with weaknesses like possessiveness and laziness. A Taurus will generally follow the leader and can be stubborn, but makes an excellent friend. Loved ones are incredibly valued and protected in my world, which (admittedly does) also involve a great deal of napping.

2. If you could buy anything in the world, what would it be? I would buy a home for all the homeless pets in the world. And if that’s dreaming too big, I would donate money to local humane societies and lesser known foundations like the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.

3. Would you want a squirrel for a pet? Why or why not? Is this a trick question? I am a terrier after all. I think it’s best if I stick to stuffed squirrels.

4. Are politics an appropriate tea time discussion topic? It depends on the company. Some things are better left unsaid.

5. Have you ever lost a friend? What happened? I lost the best and most influential friends I ever had when I was separated from my mom and brothers. I remember them fondly, and I hope somewhere out there they are as happy as I am.

6. What’s an extreme sport you want to try? It’s a toss up. Twiggy (the waterskiing squirrel) and Tillman (the skateboarding bulldog) are two of my heroes. It would be a riot to learn either of those skills.

7. Have you ever been to a concert? What was it like? Music is my muse. I love the poetic rhythms and beautiful lyrics weaving together in inspirational goodness. So I can’t help but wonder if they will ever let dogs into the kinds of concerts I want to go to. Phillip Phillips was in town this past weekend and I thought about writing a petition that (as one of his biggest fans), I should definitely be allowed to attend. Would anyone be willing to sign it such a petition?

8. What was your favorite thing about being a teenager? According to most dog-to-people year conversions, I was a teenager when my mom and dad brought me into my forever home. It doesn’t get much better than that.

9. Do you have a phobia? If so, which one? I have a few, mostly dark ones related to my past. I am deathly afraid of vacuum cleaners, brooms, power tools and leather belts. I’d rather not get into why.

10. Are you a pets person? I’m going to flip this question around to ask if I’m a people dog. And I think the answer to that is a resounding YES.

11. Do you like odd numbers? I like the underdog, so I will say yes.

11 Random Facts About the Wonderful World of Wiley

(Some are linked back to older blog entries)

I sleep smiling (most of the time)

I rub myself all over clean towels because I don’t like that they don’t smell like my people anymore

I make audible grunting sounds when I’m completely content

My favorite toy is Mrs. Prickles (with Flea in a very close second)

I dream about changing the world with my perspective on joy: from the ground up

I’m a huge Green Bay Packer fan

My favorite music of the moment is the new album by Phillip Phillips

Some call me needy. I prefer affectionate.

I love finding new ways to make people smile

I don’t bark unless there is a dog, elephant, talking pig, talking cow or any other animal (real or animated) on the television

I love my mom and dad. A lot.

All of this would be in vain if not for the opportunity to paw it forward, so alas I’m going to nominate 11 bloggers who are inspiring and have been especially supportive of Wiley’s Wisdom. Even if they have more than 200 followers, please pay them a visit.

http://momentsbymissy.wordpress.com/

http://scrapydo.wordpress.com/

http://theseeker57.wordpress.com/

http://hopethehappyhugger.wordpress.com/

http://barkshire.wordpress.com/

http://rachelmankowitz.wordpress.com/

http://misifusa.wordpress.com/

http://melaniejeanjuneau.wordpress.com/

http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/

http://lplk.wordpress.com/

http://theloneshewolf.wordpress.com/

Finally, 11 questions for my nominees:

1) If money weren’t involved, what would you choose as a forever career?

2) What causes do you support, why, and how can we get involved?

3) What is the first item on your bucket list?

4) What is your personal life philosophy?

5) If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?

6) What is the most important life lesson you have for your child/children? If you don’t have children, what is the most important life lesson you’ve learned and who did you learn it from?

7) What is your favorite quote?

8) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

9) If you could bring anyone back from the dead, who would you choose? Why?

10) Tell me about your favorite pet.

11) In what do you find the simplest of joys?

Thank you again Viva Violet for this honor, and thank you again readers for being gardeners of my joy.

 

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?