Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Mouse Will Play August 23, 2013

From sneaking people food right off the dinner table to jumping four-foot fences, I used to fancy myself a master of mischief. Somewhere along the line, I determined it was best to use my God-given brains to cause trouble because it triggered attention from people. Sometimes it was even the good kind of attention. Though they were few and far between, occasionally my behavior merited a “oh, that is so cute” comment in place of the dreaded “bad dog” nickname.

Me? Sassy? No...But something changed for me the day I escaped through the doggie door and jumped the fence of my first adoptive family. I remember feeling so disappointed when they found me and brought me home, and then (almost) relieved when they took me back to the humane society. (This ended up being a very positive thing because I met my forever people a few weeks later as a result). Forever changed for me that day as I wandered the streets of Port Washington exploring my newfound (short-lived) sense of freedom.

I’ve had it all wrong, I thought to myself when the people drove me home. “Bad dog, Zorro,” I remember the woman saying. In that moment, I realized was tired of being called a bad dog. And despite my best intentions at being bad, I was terrible at it. It was work. I don’t know why this came as such a surprise to me, since us canines tend to wear our hearts right outside our bodies for all the world to see. We can’t lie – our tails, our ears and our eyes give it away. No one is as mysterious as they think they are, especially when they have four legs and a tail. So I resolved that day to give up mischief forever. From that moment on, I would use my God-given brains to do only positive things for the world. No more bad dog. Naughty dog was a thing of the past.

But no one’s perfect. And experience has actually taught me we all need a little mischief in our lives every now and then. I know it’s happening with my people when my people call me a “little stinker” or “ball of sass.” I don’t mind – I know these are pet names, employed when just the right amount of mischief has been applied to a situation. Like when I make “the face” at mom when she’s eating a steak. Or when I paw at dad’s foot to let him know it’s time for our nightly game of fetch. And (let’s face it) I do my fair share of things that merit the occasional “bad dog” or “naughty dog” sentiment. (Barking madly at all variations of animal life on the television comes to mind). I might not be perfect, but I can say I no longer fancy myself a master of mischief. I’d much rather be the administrator of joy from the ground up.

 

 

Tears of Joy August 10, 2013

For me, its in the simple things. Pursuing  a squirrel in the backyard (even if it outsmarts me). Making myself comfortable on the patio furniture (which I know is naughty). Jumping three feet in the air to catch a tennis ball (even though I always lose interest after a catch or two). These are things that bring me joy. Nothing fancy, right?

Well, the strangest thing has been happening around here lately. My mom has been finding joy in everything. At face value, I suppose this wouldn’t sound strange, and yet I can’t quite wrap my little doggie mind around it. While much of it is triggered by the same things as always (shoes, family time, Paul Rudd’s humor – you know, the usual), some of it is surprising me. I’ve come to understand laughter as an expression of joy (for example), but this whole tears of joy thing throws me for a loop.

I didn’t used to think people tears were a bad thing, but lately I’ve seen enough of them to second guess myself. She cries all the time, over the simplest things. Don’t get me started with that Wishbone commercial where the golden retriever welcomes his person home from that place called work. Tears every time. Today dad came home with a bag of treats (for me) and a bag of clothes (for the baby). Out came the tears again.

But I know with certainty these are not tears of sadness, grief, or anger. These are tears of joy. And apparently they are somehow linked to something called hormones. She’s apparently always had them, but she says they are heightened right now because of the pregnancy. I’ve heard mom and dad talk a bit about this, because mom’s tears usually trigger dad’s giggles (which mom doesn’t usually appreciate). I don’t know why dad gives her a hard time about it either. From what I’ve heard about pregnancy hormones (and their impact on patience, anger and tension), I’ll take the tears any day.

For mom, it’s in the simple things. I’m not sure what did it during my escapades in the backyard today, but it happened nonetheless. There I was, getting my joy on with squirrels, patio furniture and tennis balls. And there she was crying tears of joy. To be honest, that might be my new favorite thing about joy. From the ground up, it’s contagious in all of its forms.

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A Tail of Two Faces July 1, 2013

I’m not that big a fan of things that are two-faced in life.

Take my favorite red leash for example. When mom grabs it out I go absolutely crazy with excitement because I know it means I’m accompanying her somewhere. It doesn’t even matter where we’re going since I love our adventures so much. But there is a dark side to my precious red leash. Just as it signals the beginning of a journey, as it does also mark the journey’s end. It’s the worst when we’re leaving a family gathering or (worse yet) the dog park.

I think my mom is on to my evade-the-leash game, to the point where I don’t think she finds much humor in it anymore. Last week, she essentially chased me around the entirety of the park’s limits before I finally let her win. The same thing happened today, after I encountered another two-faced friend of mine.

Water. It’s refreshing, nourishing, and necessary to living. So you can’t blame me for finding my way back to the fabulous mud puddles I discovered recently and staging a wrestling match with Sage the lab mix. (Can you?) We chased and wrestled ourselves until we were both adequately exhausted. I don’t understand why Sage chose to leave the mud puddle, as I found it to be an incredibly cool and relaxing place to laze and appreciate the splendor of the park. I also don’t understand why my mom got so upset with me and scolded me until I left my own personal spa pool.

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The water I love stabbed me in the back (literally) about an hour later when I got not one, but two separate baths. One without soap (which apparently proved insufficient) and one with soap. I hate baths. There’s nothing worse than the humiliation of the chilly water shrinking me to a third of my usual size, being rubbed down with perfumed shampoo and emerging covered in a scent that is nothing like my own natural smell when it’s all over. And I have to stay off the comfy furniture for what seems like forever afterward!

While my favorable opinion of both my favorite red leash and water remain unchanged by the events of the day, I definitely learned something from my experience with two-faced things in life. I don’t care for them. Fake is not a favorite people word of mine. Representing something is not the same as living it. Breathing it. Being it. It’s not worth it to mask who you really are because (spoiler alert) the world sees the truth. Hiding it from yourself doesn’t hide it from the world. Be honest with the world. Be honest with yourself. Be you.