Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Smiling Eyes January 24, 2015

I didn’t mean it. I couldn’t help it. I don’t know why it happened. And I’m sorry now.

I did a terrible thing last night. I know I can’t take it back, but I certainly wish I could. It was bath time, which I’ve recently shared has become something of an event around the halls of my forever home. It involves the nakie baby run down the hallway to the bathroom where bath time ensues before bedtime. It’s a whole lot of silliness that breeds joy, from the ground up. Morning love

Until last night. I don’t know what came over me really. One second, we were playing chase and the next minute he had little pink lines running down either side of his body. From me.

It’s important to note that I would never intentionally hurt him. Ever since the day he came home from the hospital all those months ago, I vowed to protect and love him as my own. That’s why I’ve survived the tail yanking, fur pulling and occasional eye gouging that has ensued with him since he figured out he loves me too.

So when I jumped on top of him as he journeyed down the hallway to the bathroom last night, I don’t know what got into me. But that didn’t matter. That doesn’t matter. Because those little pink lines running from his tummy to his calves on either side of his little man body were my fault.

My paws didn’t break skin. And he didn’t cry. But that doesn’t change the fact that I hurt my little person. We all went about the routine as usual, but I thought about it a lot afterward.

It’s terrible that it happened. I wish I could take it back. But sometimes you just can’t. Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes we say and do things that hurt those we love. Intentions aside, the pain is real.

Fortunately for me so is forgiveness. After the initial disappointment from both of my beloved forever parents wore off, it was like nothing ever happened. And when Carter saw me for the first time when he woke up this morning, his face lit up just like it always does. “Doggie,” he said, with smiling eyes. And all was right in the world.

 

A Healing Pain December 16, 2014

At first it was fairly subtle. A faint twitch here and there. Slightly less time on that Smartphone contraption. A few less pets than usual when she visited. From there it seemed to escalate at a surprisingly speedy pace. The twitching became more noticeable. The Smartphone was set aside more frequently. Almost no pets (but lots of verbal love) when she visited. Gratitude

It turns out my dear aunt Morgan has carpal tunnel. In both her hands. Her case seemed to worsen overnight to the point where I noticed her frequently shaking out her tingling hands to lessen the pain. I cringed when I overheard the stories she told my forever mom about waking up screaming in pain. No one I love should ever hurt like that.

Well, today is a new day for my dear aunt Morgan’s hands. A fresh start. Today marks the day of the first of two surgeries to repair her damaged wrists and, in doing so, restore her quality of life. So she can use her hands like a normal person again. I’ve missed those pets, after all.

Joking aside, it really pains me when someone I care about is hurting. Physically. Emotionally. Psychologically. Pain is not one of my favorite things. But if there’s something pain has taught me, it’s to not take anything for granted. Some things aren’t fixable with surgery or therapy or whatever other interventions are out there. And life has a way of working itself out.

Fortunately, many things are fixable. If all goes well, my dear aunt’s hands will be among them so there will be no more twitching and pain. Pets will be restored. The pain of the past will be replaced by a new pain, which I suppose is the only kind I don’t particularly mind. A healing pain. After watching first-paw something so subtle rapidly turn into something so terribly painful, take it from me. A healing pain is a good pain. Because as Gautama Buddha suggested “pain is inevitable in life, but suffering is optional.”

 

On Thin Ice March 8, 2014

Stunned disbelief. That’s what’s going on in the Schmidt home tonight. And it’s not the good kind.

Mom slipped on some ice in the driveway of my forever home today. I watched in horror from my lead in the backyard as she fell down hard like she used to before she got her leg fixed. Except this was her other leg. This was the leg she has relied on the last two years to keep her strong and stable while the other knee went through the ringer. This was the leg that got her through the terrible surgery to reconstruct the ACL, MCL and meniscus of her other leg. Feeling Blue

And now it seems the worst may have happened. When she described the incident to dad, she said her leg bent the wrong way and she heard a funny popping sound before it buckled underneath her. I’ve never experienced such a thing, but I know what it was like for mom the last time she did, and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. Let alone on my beloved forever mom.

I don’t know what to do for her. She hasn’t stopped crying all night. She seems so afraid. Afraid to walk. Afraid to fall down. Afraid to walk or fall down while holding baby Carter. She couldn’t bathe him like always tonight, or put him to bed. She couldn’t sway with him in the hallway as he cried. And it is breaking my heart.

All I can do is hope. Hope that it’s not as bad as she thinks. Hope that when the pain goes away, the knee will somehow stabilize itself again. Because emotions are on thin ice around here right now and I feel helpless. At least I have hope. Sometimes that’s all you need.

 

If You’re Happy And You Know It July 15, 2013

I don’t think I react like most dogs when I see my reflection in the mirror. Today I looked into the glass on the wall above one of my favorite spots on the living room couch and looking back at me was an image of something spectacular. And silly. Yes, it was definitely spectacularly silly. There I was, my normal self, smiling the biggest smile of square white teeth I’ve ever seen. I looked just like one of those spokesdogs for Pedigree’s dental bones.

Wag the Joy

I stared and stared, infatuated with the vivid expression of joy staring back at me. So you can imagine my disdain when the next time I blinked it was just regular ole me staring back. The humongous smile was replaced by the reality of my somewhat stained (but still in pretty good shape) canines. My teeth are definitely not my favorite physical attribute, but my little mental mirage got me to thinking about what I do like about myself. My tail.

It got me to thinking about a dog I saw at the dog park last week. His name was Scotty and he was as happy as the rest of us, running and playing and rolling around in the mud. He was the embodiment of joy, making people at the park smile and dogs at the park wag. You would never have guessed how awful his life was in the past. You would never have guessed how he lost his leg. And part of his tail. I can’t speak for everyone, but I was shocked when I overheard the story of how Scotty the three-legged-dog met his forever parents.

He was at a shelter (like me) because one of the employees found him limping on the side of the road. The angel picked him up and took him to the humane society, pausing along the way to also pick up the bloody baseball bat a few miles down the road. The on-site vet quickly put together that the dog had been beaten, and the resulting injuries would cost him one of his hind legs. Based on the infection in his tail, the vet also deduced the dog was likely the victim of a poorly executed tail “trimming” by the owner with the baseball bat. The vet fixed him up as best he could and his forever mom adopted him a few months later.

His story made me simultaneously overcome with happiness and sadness. No one wanted him, the woman said, because of his missing leg. While I recognize the blessing that was his adoption, it breaks my heart to hear people making snap judgments like that. If anything everyone should have wanted him because his tail was so full of happiness that desperately needed to be shared. Instead he was cast aside and forgotten because he didn’t look quite right.

A bigger tail doesn’t make you a better dog. A missing limb or eye doesn’t either. And teeth that are not-quite-pearly-white anymore most definitely doesn’t. I’m glad I met Scotty and heard his story. It reminded me I don’t need the perfect white squares that are in those commercials to show how happy I am. I’m happy and I know it so I wag. And smile. And (best of all) my experiences in life have afforded me to share that happiness however I see fit.