Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Jumping For Joy March 30, 2014

Apparently it’s frowned upon. It’s one of those behaviors that helps earns a dog (who shall remain unnamed) the title of obedience school drop out. It’s one of those things that makes a lot of people say “no!” in loud voices. Jumping. From the ground up, it is literally one of my life’s true conundrums.

JoyBecause my forever people seem to like it. From day one, I have reacted to the simple motion of a person patting their legs while standing as a cue they would like me to jump into their arms. Obviously that must be why they are patting their legs like that. So I use the imaginary springs in my legs to jump two or three feet into the air and voila! Success for all parties.

Unfortunately not everyone understands this gesture as the sign of joy it is meant to be. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that the thought of catching my 23-pound frame would seem daunting if one is physically unprepared. But it got me to thinking today about the unique power of the unexpected.

The unknown. From the ground up, I know it can be scary. And usually there is no way to prepare. But if we overcome it by bringing fear to purpose, it can become a beacon of joy. If we let it.

This is not to say my methods of jumping for joy are always the best. To each his own. At least I know it works for me. And for my people. And, as it turns out, it worked on the photographer visitors that were here in my forever home recently. It turns out they didn’t forget about me at all. They actually included me in a second version of the commercial, which begins with a lovely image of mom and baby Carter.

Of all things, I was jumping. There I am doing the thing that most dog trainers frown upon. The naughty thing that gets dogs like me kicked out of obedience school. The thing that seems to elicit the “no” response more than most other things I do. There I am doing what I do best. Jumping for joy. I don’t think I will ever be convinced it’s such a bad thing.

To see the second version of the commercial: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=573205620437&l=8948471090623811603

 

 

A Little Touch October 22, 2013

It doesn’t take much. A pat on the head. A scratch behind the ear by the collar. An extra treat (or three). I really am a fool for the little things in life. Especially where love is concerned.

But I can’t say it’s been an easy lesson for me to learn. When I was a puppy, I learned the “how high” way of life. I jumped higher, ran faster, and dreamed bigger than any other dog I knew. It was a point of pride even, that I always had a fire lit inside me to be better. And I’m not saying that is a bad thing.How High?

To this day I startle people with how high I can jump. I can launch myself straight up into the air three or four feet. I even have this trick I learned to do with my mom where she pats her thighs and says “up” and I jump securely into her arms. These things bring me great joy that I can’t help but share with others. But bigger isn’t always better. Not everyone likes to be welcomed into my forever home with me jumping into their arms. And I’m okay with that.

I realized this tonight in the midst of a special moment I shared with mom. It was nothing new for the two of us – she was scratching behind my ear by my collar (an especially itchy spot of mine) and I did it. I wrapped my paw around her hand while she scratched. I do it all the time, but tonight it seemed to strike an emotional chord with her I haven’t noticed before. She seemed touched by my touch. It seems like such a little insignificant way to show I appreciate her scratches, yet it meant a lot to her. Certainly it meant more to her than how high I can jump on the visitors to my forever home.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things,” suggested American thinker Robert Brault. It sounds so simple, but it doesn’t take much. To show someone you care. To make someone smile. To be an ambassador for joy. I don’t need to jump five feet in the air to show how enthusiastic I am to welcome a visitor to our home. That’s not what joy from the ground up is all about. It’s about the simple little things, like the moments I shared with mom today. And a couple extra treats every now and then don’t hurt either.