Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Our Little Guy October 11, 2013

That didn’t last long. Less than ten days ago, I (figuratively) raised a scruffy paw in favor of staying scruffy for a cause. There was only one flaw in my plan. There is no really good way for me to communicate these kinds of choices I make with my forever people. They clearly didn’t get the message.

Before AfterThe good news is I saw my beloved groomer Mary and all my Paws R Us pals this week. The bad news? I’m no longer a participant in Scruffy September. Sure, I went a tiny bit longer without my routine visit to Mary. And I remain committed to the Out of the Darkness cause regardless. But I can no longer call myself scruffy.

At first I was kind of bummed out about it. Then it happened. Dad said it out loud. The news I have been dreading (and mentally denying) for the last eight months or so. You see, dad has been having awful itchy red eyes for some time now at seemingly random times. It’s not exactly constant, but its bothersome frequently enough he finally went to see an eye specialist today. And she confirmed the truth.

Dad, my forever person, is allergic. To me. I listened in horror as dad explained the outcome of his appointment to mom over dinner. The doctor apparently went as far as to inquire whether they-my people-would consider finding me another home. I felt like I’d been kicked. Hard. Right in the heart. My mind raced with questions I couldn’t ask. Silence was not my friend. And time seemed to slow to an absolute crawl.

I can honestly say I’ve never been so happy to hear dad laugh.

“I told her there is no way,” I heard him say as he looked down at me. “He’s our little guy and he always will be, won’t you buddy?”

Relief does not even begin to describe the feeling that washed over me in that moment. Seconds earlier I had been temporarily paralyzed with fear (that I would have to go back the humane society again, would never see my beloved people again, and would never get to meet my new little person). Now it was like I had the life breathed back into me.

They went on with their conversation, strategizing about ways to more effectively control my dander like vacuuming and brushing me more frequently. And I thought to myself “self, it’s not so bad being groomed more frequently if it means you get to stay a part of this family.” And it’s not. I quite enjoy seeing Mary and my pals. I will do anything I can do to help control this pet dander that is apparently contributing to my dad’s painful allergies. Because I love him, and (even though he never will admit it) he loves me. And, as Mahatma Gandhi so aptly observed, “where there is love there is life.”

So what if Scruffy September for a cause didn’t last very long. Because dad’s love for me clearly will. And that means the world to me.

 

A (Sun)day In The Life October 6, 2013

There is simply no excuse for me. I have no good reason for not attending the Out of the Darkness Paws for Prevention walk as promised today. Granted, it would have been tough to do without my driver (aka mom) deciding to go. Which she didn’t.

Instead I was incredibly lazy. Let’s be honest – my days are generally fairly laid back. But today I felt particularly lazy as my people hustled and bustled all over the house. The windows were open to let the beautiful fall air in and dad worked on something stinky in the baby’s room. That paint stuff is for the dogs. I don’t like it.

So I stayed close to mom in the kitchen. Boy, she was busy in there today. First, it smelled spicy with what I heard her call chili. Then the meaty goodness mixed with a sweetness she called apple pumpkin soup. (There was bacon involved with this because I scored a few nibbles when dad wasn’t looking). Finally, jambalaya joined the mix. It was definitely better than the paint smell, but I was basically hungry all day long thanks to the delicious odors wafting through the air.

Outside was busy too. The hum of leaf blowers was prominent throughout the day as this is the price my people and their neighbors pay for the beautiful trees that line the street. And then I got a visit from two little boys from down the street. I tried to hug them, but I don’t think they cared too much for that. They were focused on collecting orders for Christmas wreaths. In early October.

Here I was appreciating the fabulousness of all things fall and apparently we are fast-tracking to Christmas already. I didn’t expect mom to buy one because the season is so far away. But she has been in the habit of surprising me lately, and today she did not disappoint.

So we are all set for Christmas now, at least as it pertains to the wreath for the front door. And at first I felt kind of irritated about it. What about Halloween? And Thanksgiving (which might just be my favorite people holiday)? Then I remembered that thing I like to find in all situations. The silver lining.

December may seem far away. But it’s not. Which means all of the joy of the holidays is not far away. While I am a believer in living in the joy of the season year-round, Christmas is a time when joy abounds all around me. It’s one thing to believe something on the inside. It’s another thing to be completely enveloped with it on the outside.

I didn’t have to go to the Paws for Prevention walk today to know that. To know the importance of sharing my joy from the ground up with whomever will take it. I do feel badly about breaking my promise to attend the important event. But I know I was where I was supposed to be today. Soaking it all in. Life. From the ground up. It looks pretty good to me.

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Paws for Prevention October 3, 2013

I need a haircut. I am scruffy and unkempt looking and I don’t like it. It doesn’t seem like it’s been long since I last visited Mary at Paws ‘R Us, but perhaps its because I actually like it there.

Don’t get me wrong, the bath part is pretty awful. Dogs are not meant to be sprayed, hosed and cleaned with a smelly soap that smells nothing like our natural doggie scent. But everything else about my time there is pretty special. I get to see all my pals, including the groomer Mary who always calls me handsome. And I get to ride in the car, which is always a plus.

Light Amidst DarknessI think it goes back to my time at the Oshkosh Humane Society where I associated grooming with attention, and associated attention with much-needed love. Tender loving care, I think it’s called. And whether it comes through a haircut, a golf game, or some time at a spa, we all need it every once in a while. It’s part of maintaining balance. Part of being alive.

I decided somewhere along the line to embrace my scruff in honor of a cause. Apparently people do this sometimes for things like Movember (mustaches for prostate cancer awareness). Well I declare my time of scruff-itude Scruffy September. And I know my cause. A people friend of dad’s shared a flier with me take struck a chord with my heart. “Walk your pooch to prevent suicide – Milwaukee Out of the Darkness Community Walk.” Sign me up!

I often talk a big game about being a light in the darkness. Here is my chance. Proceeds of the Out of the Darkness Community Walks benefit  the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the leading national not-for-profit organization dedicated to preventing suicide. Suicide. Its a foreign concept to most canines, but I know people who have been impacted by its aftermath. There is never a “right time” to lose someone, but being a loved one left behind as the result of suicide is a struggle I wouldn’t wish on anyone. You wonder what you could have done or should have done differently. You transfer blame. You grieve. Deeply.

It all makes me feel very silly obsessing about how badly I need a haircut. Maybe that’s the point. I’m lucky to be alive, regardless of how scruffy I might be. So I think I’m going to convince mom to take me to this walk. Because as Aristotle Onassis said “it is in our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

For more information on AFSP: http://www.afsp.org/