Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Mr. Fancypants December 9, 2014

Some things in life really are unnecessary. Like pants (at least in my case). Yet I hear this phrase Mr. Fancypants thrown around and it gets me to thinking.

It happened again tonight when mom and dad had the television on as dear baby Carter ran around (you read that right, a few weeks into walking and he’s already starting to gallop). There was some show on about Hollywood people that was featuring their extravagant mansions. It  was barely a whisper, but I heard dad mutter under his breath something or another about hating those people for having what they have. Standing Strong

Mom must have heard it to, because she stopped what she was doing in the kitchen and asked him why. It’s a question he couldn’t really answer other than to admit there is a great deal of farce behind the jealousy that’s all to easy to fall into.

He talks frequently about winning the lottery, too. Like that will solve all of life’s problems. I know he means well, and I also know this is coming from me, one who does less than nothing to contribute to the bottom line around here, but I think it’s all a little ridiculous. And those mansions? Who needs 56,000 square feet on a 30-acre lot anyway? That’s just silliness.

I also know money doesn’t grow on trees. I know it’s hard-earned. But I realized something today as I thought about all of the unnecessary things in life. Even if I were to come into a fortune of some kind, what on Earth would I do with it? I don’t think I could ever pass as a Mr. Fancypants (or pull off pants in the first place). And I don’t know that I would want to. Instead, I feel like I would find ways to help show my gratitude to my forever family for giving me the best life a dog could ask for.

Beyond that, I think it’s important that no matter where a person falls on the fancypants ladder, there will always be someone with more and someone with less than you. Perspective. From the ground up, it’s a pretty powerful thing. Especially when it comes to this scary thing called greed.

“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction,” suggested German social psychologist Erich Fromm. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather feel satisfied. I’d rather avoid being in a bottomless pit. I’d rather feel alive.


The Value of Happiness August 16, 2014

It happens all the time. And it has definitely intensified since the arrival of my dear puppy brother otherwise known as Carter. From time to time, I am overcome with the most terrifying reality that I am, by all intent and purpose, completely and utterly broke. I have nothing of value to my name other than my collection of collars, and even that isn’t (technically) mine. And in rare moments it bothers me.

Not at all because I need anything. My needs have nothing to do with it. I have all I really need in the love of my forever people. It’s their needs that get to me every now and then. There has been a general tightening of the proverbial purse strings around here lately, especially since Carter was born and mom scaled back her wages in exchange for being a bit more present in his (and by proxy my) life. Things are not dire by any means, but they are certainly not lush either.Backyard Happiness

And it’s tough from time to time. I might be your resident doggie optimist, but I have a very soft spot for a crying forever mom who says she feels like she can’t catch a break.

But almost as frequently as I long to have money enough to buy whatever my people want (let alone need), something happens to remind me it’s not all about that. I’ve said before that money can’t buy happiness. Well, today those words came to life right before my little doggie eyes.

Sure, money is tight. Grocery shopping has been scaled back from pricey markets to the bargain stores. Money has been borrowed from family members. Carter’s clothes are gently used instead of new. But there are moments every day that remind me it’s all more than okay.

Like today, when my beloved people brought home a swing that I think was borrowed from a friend of the family. This little piece of plastic didn’t cost anything at all, but you won’t believe what happened next. Dad hung it from a branch in one of the trees in my backyard paradise and magic happened. He strapped my dear puppy brother in nice and tight and what happened next was music to everyone’s ears. Laughter. From the ground up, I don’t know if there is anything more contagious than a baby’s laughter. It made mom laugh. It made dad laugh. Heck, if I could laugh I would have been giggling right along with them.

It brought into focus this thing about money I’ve always known but needed a reminder of today. Because it happens all the time. I find myself feeling terribly guilty that I can’t contribute more to the bottom line around here. I am, indeed, as broke as they come. But, like most things in life, it’s not really about that. Money is money. It’s not happiness. I’m broke but I’m happy. And I wouldn’t even call what happened today a silver lining because in reality this happiness in its purest form is more priceless than gold.

Want to see Carter’s first swing experience?




I Don’t Buy That April 3, 2014

Money is kind of a foreign concept to me. I know my people go to that place called work for it. I know they spend it to buy me things. But the overall concept is one that doesn’t really apply to a dog’s life as I know it.

I frequently find some solace in this, as it seems to do nothing but add stress to the lives of my people. But today I heard something that brought it home. Baby Carter has taken to watching cartoons on what I used to call the big moving picture window in the living room. I now know it as a television, but occasionally I wonder what Carter thinks of that big ole thing.

On the Road AgainHe obviously can’t tell me what he’s thinking at the tender age of three months old, but today I got a sense for it. Mom had the Disney movie “Aladdin” playing and every time the genie was on, Carter smiled. I don’t know if it was the colors or the voice or what. He just smiled so big every single time.

My first thought was how I am right there with him. I frequently long for such a genie to come into my life and grant me wishes. The first of which would be for enough money so mom could stay home with me all the time. Especially now that Carter is in the picture and he brings her the most pure sense of joy I have ever witnessed.

Alas, I won’t be the one to break the news to Carter, but there is no genie. Just like there is no way mom can stay home with him and I all the time. But there was a lesson to take from the song about Aladdin being a street rat.

“Riffraff, street rate, I don’t buy that,” Aladdin sings, “If only they’d look closer. Would they see a poor boy? No siree, they’d find out there’s so much more to me.”

Money might be a fairly foreign concept to me. Especially since I too have lived life as a street rat. But I see a lesson in dear Aladdin’s words that I hope is in some way imparting into baby Carter’s little mind. It doesn’t matter how much money we have. Or what people call us. It doesn’t matter where we come from. It matters where we are going.