Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Forget and Forgive February 1, 2015

I used to think it wasn’t possible for someone’s brain to be somewhere apart from their body. I’ve heard it talked about in the people circles I follow, but it never made much sense to me. Though I consider myself quite philosophical, my sense of all things literal has a tendency to take it too far occasionally. I think that’s why it always sounded strange to me that a mind could be “somewhere else.” Motion

That is, until today. I’ve seen it from time to time in other situations too, but never has it been quite as blatantly apparent as it was throughout my Sunday.

It was a fairly dreary day around here, but I have a fresh blanket of snow blanket diamonds in my backyard. I was grateful for it, too, since the first time it happened I was outside. I was enjoying the peaceful beauty of the fresh snow when mom called me in, so I opted to stay outside. That decision ultimately lasted a wee bit longer than I would have chosen. I would get it was about a half hour or so before mom called for me to come inside again. Though I was perfectly happy out there, I realized as she brought me back in that she forgot about me until then.

It happened a second time when she and Carter went upstairs to make dinner. I took my time following them, only to be greeted by the closed baby gate at the top of the stairs. I understand this is for dear baby Carter’s safety, but I can’t say it’s my favorite thing in my forever home. It wasn’t until a half hour later when dad got home from that place called work and let me upstairs the rest of the way that I rejoined society again.

One last time it happened with all three of my family members, including dad. My food and water bowl has been temporarily sequestered in a bathroom to prevent Carter from splashing water and sampling from my kibbles. In order to allow me some much-needed privacy while eating, mom shut the door to allow me to eat in peace. In itself, this is not such a bad thing. But another half hour went by before I was rescued from the bathroom.

If I didn’t know better, I’d be pretty hurt by all of this. I would feel forgotten and few things are as disappointing and heart-wrenching as that feeling in my world. But I get it. The mind does wander off to other places sometimes. It’s okay. Regardless of this, I know the love is always there. The heart never leaves, even if the mind does from time to time. That’s what matters to me anyway.

 

Seeing Through the Fog December 4, 2013

I can’t see a thing. This has been among my first thoughts of the day for three days in a row now. The days have begun like any other, except for when mom lets me outside in the morning. It’s been so unbelievably foggy, I feel completely blind. It’s a good thing I know my way around my backyard paradise so well.Seeing Through the Fog

Being encompassed by a dense fog like this reminds me of what it feels like to be overwhelmed. The fog can seem to close in from every direction. And you can’t see. You’re blinded by the realm of possibility. It doesn’t happen to me often as I’m fortunate enough to have a pretty simple life. From (albeit dreaded) regular visits to the veterinarian to the food in my bowl every day, my parents take really good care of me. There is no reason to feel overwhelmed.

Thank goodness for that because I don’t think I’m much of a fighter. I’ve always thought of myself as more a peacekeeper than anything else. But when I think of the fighters I’ve known in my life, one face comes to mind every time. Tiger. Now he was a fighter. I remember watching in disgust as he violently fought with other dogs for anything from a bone to a loaf of bread. He was always one step ahead of me when it came to finding the best food scraps in the neighborhood and I hated him for it.

That was, until I found out what he was really fighting for. He was providing for a small litter of puppies after the family lost their birth mom. Just like I had lost mine, only my deadbeat dad had left long before I was born. Tiger wasn’t like that. He stood by his family and fought for them in every sense of the word.

He was away hunting for food one day when the fog closed in on me. He’d left me to watch over the little ones before, so it didn’t seem like a big deal. But it was. That was the day one of the dogs Tiger had made an enemy decided to seek revenge. I’ve never felt so overwhelmed in my life. I was blinded by all the devastating ways I knew the story could end. But I couldn’t let that stop me. I needed to see through the fog. I needed to persevere.

So I used the only weapons I knew I had in my arsenal capable of defeating this strange dog with the crazy eyes. My brain and my heart. And (with a little help of a feline friend of mine), I won that particular battle. The puppies were safe. I was safe. Looking back I know it is because I decided to see through the fog to the heart of the matter. Maybe I’m more of a fighter than I thought I was.

 

Bursts of Love May 25, 2013

A day in the life of a dog is pretty simple. Generally we wake, eat, go outside, sleep, go for a weather-permitting walk or run, eat, sleep, play, sleep. Such is life. But every once in a while, the routine is uprooted into utter madness that results in nothing but pure joy. That was today for me.

Happy to Be AliveIt started like a normal Saturday, with a little extra sleep with my forever mom and dad in the morning, followed by my usual breakfast of health food (it’s supposedly “better for me” than the really yummy stuff) and my morning date with my backyard. The chill in the air kept my parents from doing the planting and yard work they slated for the day, so they got ready to go somewhere and I assumed I was staying behind like I usually do when they run “errands” (which is all right with me since it sounds exhausting).

But mom surprised dad and I both when she grabbed my walking harness and beloved leash and declared I was accompanying them to the farmer’s market. I’d only been a few times prior and oh dog, was I excited! When we got there, I instantly made friends with a couple of little people named Jillian and Max. They reached down to pet me and Jillian hugged me goodbye when her mom said it was time to go.

It was all downhill from there. I know this isn’t my first farmer’s market rodeo, but it sure felt like it. I was overwhelmed by all the sights, sounds and smells of everything. So many little people and adults and dogs and birds and booths filled with yummy-smelling things! My senses were on overload, and I can’t say I particularly enjoyed myself. It didn’t make sense to me. I love everything I encountered at the market – why couldn’t I enjoy it?

I encountered a similar sense of self-doubt when we made a subsequent surprise stop at the local dog park on the way home. Mom said she wanted me to “wear off some steam.” (Yet another instance I wish I could invent the next technological revolution: a dog-to-human translation device). I didn’t need to let off steam, I wanted to tell her, I just needed to think. The dog park, a place where I usually find bliss in running free with my fellow four-legged friends, was lost on me today. It was teaming with triple the dogs as usual, and again I felt overwhelmed by it all. It didn’t make sense to me. I love running around like a ninny at the dog park – why couldn’t I enjoy it today?The Good Life

I finally got my answer when I was back at home and my parents were doing some of the yard work they vowed earlier in the day not to do “in the cold.” They took a break to snack on peanuts and watermelon and they shared some with me (a rare occasion in the Schmidt house). And there the three of us sat, soaking in the albeit chilly fresh air. That’s when it hit me.

Today was a day filled with so much joy, but I had to stop and acknowledge the small pieces of the puzzle in order to make sense of the chaos around me. What’s that the great and infamous “they” say about eating an elephant one bite at a time? Well, today was an elephant of joy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Next time I just need to take it all in, one small piece at a time, and I will be better enabled to feel the joy the big ole world has to offer me.

A day in the life of a dog is pretty simple. Generally we wake, eat, go outside, sleep, go for a weather-permitting walk or run, eat, sleep, play, sleep. Such is life. But every once in a while, the routine is uprooted into utter madness that results in nothing but pure joy. We need these days every now and then, where we are so overwhelmed with emotion that we feel like we’re going to burst. Mom calls these moments “bursts of love,” and I suppose that’s what today was for me. A big ole overwhelming burst of love for all the people, places and things in my life.