Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Family Ties March 19, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:30 pm
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There is wagging. And there is screeching. It’s the same for most visitors to my forever home these days. They are greeted as they always have been with my enthusiasm, followed almost immediately by a happily squealing dear baby Carter.

Today was no different as we got a visit from great grandma and great auntie. There was wagging and screeching. (Also, they brought yummy smelling food, so there may have been some jumping). They came to visit mom and Carter after not seeing us for a couple months. And it was nice.Family

Not just because I scored table scraps from more than one person (who will remain anonymous to ensure similar behavior in the future) or because it was simply a joy to see them. It was nice because time has no bearing with family. Sure, it’s been too long since we’d all been together. But you couldn’t have guessed it.

Love. From the ground up, it filled my forever home today as we primarily all watched Carter engage in various toddler antics. He sampled his first donut (which means I sampled it too, of course). He showed them his old room where the new baby is going to be in a couple months. He ripped his socks off and put them on his hands (much to the dismay of great grandma). And they laughed.

Best of all, the love didn’t only fill the air. It filled my heart. Both guests made a point to take some time to give me pets in all of my favorite places. This warmed my heart even more since a lot of visitors who are not around my home very often focus entirely on dear Carter. Though it doesn’t bother me, it certainly is nice to be the center of attention again, even if it is only for a few minutes every now and then.

My time today with the wagging and squealing and laughing brought to life the words of American actor Michael J. Fox, who suggested “family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”

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The Best Kind of Medicine March 14, 2015

I find it happens in the most curious of ways. Or sometimes for no good reason at all. Laughter. From the ground up, it’s true what the imperviously mysterious “they” say about it being a contagion. At least that’s what I have witnessed around my forever home.

Lately, a formerly thoughtful giggler known as dear baby Carter has evolved into a much more boisterous and free-spirited fountain of laughs. I know just what I can do to get him going. For the most part, so do mom and dad. Even he seems to know that if he runs a certain path through our home or has a conversation with a sock he carefully fixed onto his hand, it will bring joy to his heart.Good News, All!

Yet it seems each new day something new brings out the gleeful sound. Today it was mom’s foot. She got him in his tummy with her toes by mistake, and that set of a long and fulfilling session of laughs that even I got involved with.

It made me realize how important it is to be open minded about joy. As he giggled with delight in a game of chase, I found myself wondering what the world would be like if everyone could find something new to giggle about each day. I personally laugh (and smile) with my tail, so I’m not sure what good that does for me.

But later this afternoon, I overheard mom talking with dad about the physical and mental health benefits to laughter, like how a minute or two of laughter can relieve tension and stress in the body for up to 45 minutes. It boosts the immune system, releases what mom called a “happy hormone,” and protects the heart. Sounds like a win-win to me.

So today I find myself feeling so grateful for my silly little person and all the laughter he brings into my forever home. Even if it does happen in the most curious of ways, or sometimes for no good reason at all. Laughter. From the ground up, it’s the best kind of medicine around.

 

 

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.

 

I Will Have Lived February 26, 2015

It’s something I’ve honestly never done. I guess I could blame any number of things for why it isn’t a priority in my life. Regardless, I can’t say its something I’d ever like to do.

Planning ahead. From the ground up, it never has been and never will be something I particularly care to do.

I’ve found through my life experience that if something is meant to be it will be. I believe that everything that happened to me as a puppy – from that moment I lost my birth mom and brothers to my time on the streets to my time with that first foster family who returned me to the humane  society – led me to where I am today. I wouldn’t redo any of it and I have no regrets. Thinking big thoughts

And if I look back in time, I know for certain no amount of strategic planning on my part would have gotten me to this point. I’m at the mercy of my people for most things, and I wouldn’t change that for love or money.

So when I heard the words of one of America’s beloved founding founders, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I’ve had it wrong all this time.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” suggested Ben Franklin. As one who has never really made (or executed) a plan in my entire doggie life, I found this concept somewhat troubling. It made me wonder what my life would have looked like if I had somehow made a plan. Or what it would look like if I made one now.

I thought maybe five years would be a good place to start. Especially since that’s the equivalent to 35 in dog years. In five years (God willing) I will be twelve. Or 84 in dog years.

What’s interesting is that based on where I’m at in life, five years seems like a blink of an eye. Five years ago, I was a few short months away from finding my forever home. Or my forever people were a few months away from finding me. That feels like yesterday. And it feels like years and years ago. At the same time.

I think that’s why I’ve never tried planning ahead. Not only because I believe in making the best of any situation (and therefore don’t think I need a plan), but because I’ve never had a reason to question the natural way of things. It might not be a popular perspective, but it’s one I’ve decided to stick to. Does that make me a failure? I don’t think so. Instead I chose to live the life I’ve been blessed with, embracing the twists and turns that make it interesting.

Because when those five years are up I might not have done anything according to the plan. But I will have lived. And to me that means more than any strategic plan ever could.

 

When Tomorrow Comes February 20, 2015

I thought maybe it would change after Carter was born. Or definitely after mom’s work schedule allowed her a little more time at home during the week. Or certainly when it was determined that Carter would have mostly in-home care. But this simple truth remains the same.

I love Fridays. It is (by far) my favorite day of the week. In The Right Direction

A lot has changed in my world since I last made this proclamation. I used to spend most of my weekdays napping alone in various places in the house. I would count down the minutes until mom came home from that place called work over her lunch break and we would walk the neighborhood. The countdown would then resume as she returned to work for the remainder of the afternoon. It was agony, though I never minded the naps.

People are always here now. Around the clock, someone is here, in my forever home. I’m rarely alone anymore, except for when Carter and family venture out into the world. And then, I don’t really mind the alone time since it doesn’t happen that often.

So much has changed in my world and yet this simple truth remains the same. Fridays are my most favorite day of the week. I sense it in my forever family, too, like we all are on the same page emotionally from the moment we wake in the morning. It’s going to be a good day. It’s going to be better than yesterday. Because it’s Friday.

I find this is especially true after a week like we had. Beginning to end, it was rough. More challenging than most.

But today we woke up and it was like we collectively decided it was going to be a better day if, for no other reason than that it is Friday. And why, might you ask, is Friday so special? I can’t speak for my people, but I speak for myself in my appreciation of this day as the start of the longest straight stretch of family time I get in a week.

It’s the start of the weekend, where the family is together (more often than not) and joy is personified in the simplest of ways. It lives in the moments where there is laughter and silliness. It breathes the life back into us in a way no other set of days can. It reinvigorates. It rejuvenates. It restores. Until Monday comes, and again we patiently wait.

 

Too Much of a Good Thing February 15, 2015

I’ve got nothing against cats. Or their curiosity. Yet I’ve heard once or twice this thing people say about how curiosity killed the cat. I know it’s just a philosophical anecdote, and therefore falls into a category of phrases I don’t particularly trust.

I also know we canines have our own level of curiosity that can get us into trouble sometimes. In my case, I usually find myself getting into mischief when I blindly follow my nose to places like garbage cans and freshly folded laundry. Those stories never end well for me. Mom and I

Lately, I’ve noticed a similar pattern among some of my dearest loved ones. Except that instead of following their noses, they’ve been following their fingers on a keyboard that leads to nothing but heartbreak and fear. They have brilliant doctors who they trust and yet they are turning to the internet for answers to some of life’s challenging health questions. And I don’t need to understand anything medical to know that is not the right place to turn.

Research, like many good things, can be taken too far. In this case, it is being taken to places where my dear forever mom is put on bed rest and can’t take care of dear baby Carter or the new little person, who may be born too early. Or (gulp) maybe not be born at all if things end badly.

These are all the absolute worst case places that my dear mom has (admittedly somewhat irrationally) allowed the internet to take her mind. And her heavy heart for that matter. All because of a little (albeit serious) complication that’s arisen in her pregnancy with our new little person. A little complication that could just as easily resolve itself in the next few weeks.

I wish I could take the computer away. Because it’s nothing against cats or their curiosity. In her case it’s true. Curiosity can kill the cat. It’s all too easy to head to the worst case place in your head with the help of too much of that good thing called research. Though moderation is never an easy thing for a dog, I can give it the respect it deserves. Now if only I could figure out a way to get mom to do the same.

 

Hurry Up (and wait) February 3, 2015

Twenty two minutes. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but for me it was an eternity. I was ready to go the moment I heard my forever mom say it. “Want to go play in the snow when dad gets home?” she asked dear baby Carter. Unlike me, he didn’t really register much about her words other than the word “dad.” But I knew fun was in the near future and I was ready. Waiting

What I wasn’t ready for was the preparation it would take for my people to be ready. There were snow pants and hats and mittens and boots.  And layers (and layers) of clothes. Mom and Carter weren’t feeling the best yesterday, so no caution was spared in terms of ensuring they were cozy and warm. The same goes for dad when he got home a few minutes later. All said and done, it took twenty two minutes for my forever family to be backyard ready.

Fresh snowflakes fell from the sky as family playtime ensued in the foot (or so) of snow we were walloped with the other day. I stood back and watched as poor Carter sank into the snow. Moving wasn’t really an option at that point, but that didn’t change the smile on his face. I watched as he laid back and watched the snowflakes fall, covering his eyelashes like angel dust. I watched as my parents sat by his side and took it all in.

And I realized as I watched that if I could make a snowglobe, it would look just like this. With my people and their joy and love and happiness filling the space between the snow in the sky and the snow on the ground.

Even if it all only lasted six minutes. It took twenty two minutes to get ready. From the layers (and layers) of clothes to the snow pants and jackets and hats and mittens and boots, it was quite the process. But even though it took more than three times as long to prepare for the big backyard outing as it did to actually enjoy it, waiting was only part of the fun.

Joy. From the ground up, it doesn’t have to last any longer than a snowflake that melts the instant it meets a person’s skin. Because it lives on in our hearts.