Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Neighborhood Watch January 6, 2014

It’s been said more than once. Some have said it jokingly. Others have been more serious about it. Regardless of the reasons, the message is clear. I would make a terrible guard dog.

Watching the Angel SleepIn our neighborhood we are surrounded on either side by neighbor ladies who have been widowed, one of whom was especially enthusiastic about my impending ferocity when my people first brought me home from the humane society. It will be nice to have a dog guarding this neck of the neighborhood, she said.

Here I am, three and a half years later, and that could not be farther from the truth. My bark is rare, and every visitor to my forever home is greeted with fanfare and love. I do, after all, have a personal goal to share joy with whomever will take it, so why would I startle folks as they enter my home? It’s simply not in my bones.

Or so I thought. Then came baby Carter and suddenly everything has changed. Every little creak in the floor makes me jump, I find myself reacting to noises outside differently, and I have even uttered a protective bark or two at something other than the pig on the Geico commercials or the dogs with pretty teeth in the Pedigree commercials. I can’t describe the change other than that it feels instinctual, as natural as scratching an itch behind my ear.

“Follow your instincts,” American media mogul Oprah Winfrey suggested. “That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.” Sometimes I think its all too easy to start believing what people say about us. Especially when it’s not necessarily complimentary. I’m not really sure which side of the fence a guard dog falls on, since it usually isn’t a good thing to assume the bad in everyone instead of the good. But I have developed some pretty keen instincts in my time on four paws, and I think its time I start employing them. It’s been said more than once that I could never be a guard dog. I’ve got new reasons to believe that doesn’t make it true.

 

 

 

That Time I Fooftered August 22, 2013

Forget milk. It’s humor that does the body good. I say this partially because I’m not allowed to have milk (even though I’ve sneaked a delicious taste from my dad’s glass a few times), but also because I’ve seen laughter at work. It’s a pretty amazing thing that creeps up on me at some of life’s most unexpected moments.

It Wasn't MeTake tonight for example. There I was, scratching behind my ear with my back paw when bam. I fooftered. (This is my more delicate way of saying farted, for anyone that didn’t already connect the gastrointestinal dots). It was far from dainty, and seemed to almost echo through the room. To be honest, it startled me. It brought my scratching to a complete halt for crying out loud. (It isn’t unusual for me to stop and pay attention to my butt region when these foofters happen, but I’m not usually stopping mid-scratch to do so). I paused for about thirty seconds with my back paw still poised for scratching. I was completely frozen in the moment.

That’s when it happened. Mom started laughing almost uncontrollably. I found myself looking around the room for whatever the beautiful source of her laughter was so I could send a mental thank you note. But the television was off, so it couldn’t be that episode of Big Bang Theory when Sheldon is playing in the ball pit (which mom and dad both find hysterically funny for some reason). She wasn’t reading or on the computer or paying attention to anything except me. Me? What about my foofter was so funny?

It’s nothing new for me. I can’t be the only dog who does this. I don’t know that I would find it particularly funny if I witnessed another dog doing it. Yet it made her giggle so much I couldn’t help but share the story in hopes it has a similar effect on other people. I can’t say I understand it, but I’m not sure it matters whether or not I get it. I’m not even sure comedians see the humor in what they say sometimes until after they say it.

All of this reaffirmed for me the words of American poet e. e. cummings who said “the most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” Well, thanks to my silliness, today was not a wasted one. People have wind chimes. Dogs have laughter. These are things that bring us peace. That’s why I say we should forget milk. It’s humor that does the body good.