Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

With the Lamp Lit February 25, 2015

I don’t understand any of it. But I’m a dog, so I think that’s okay. What I do know is all that worry weighing on mom’s heart a couple of weeks ago has been has been lifted slightly. At least for now.

When she left dear baby Carter and I with Aunt Morgan, I could tell her nerves were getting the best of her. I knew wherever she was going something important must be happening. So I wished and hoped and did all I could to send all things positive with her as she left a very upset (very teething) Carter behind to tackle whatever she was about to do. In the Deep End

When she returned home, she was a different person. Even her step looked lighter. (Well, as light as it can be at six months pregnant). I stood by listening anxiously as she filled Morgan in with all kinds of technical medical jargon that went in one ear and out the other. But I didn’t need to understand any of it except for a few precious words.

It’s better than it was, so that’s a good sign.

That’s all I needed to hear to breathe my own sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, I know the journey isn’t over. We are not out of the proverbial woods just yet. Mom gets more information from her doctor on Friday, and I’m hopeful there is more good news. Until then, I shall follow mom’s lead and proceed with caution until at least Friday (if not longer, depending on what the doctor says).

Because while I share in the enthusiasm and overall anticipation to meet this new little person, I do understand he or she shouldn’t be meeting us just yet for health and safety reasons. So we will wait, cautiously, but somehow I knew in my heart what I saw in mom’s eyes today.

Hope. From the ground up, it’s a pretty powerful thing. Christian author Tertullian certainly thought so when he said “hope is patience with the lamp lit.” I don’t need to understand anything about all things medical to know this as truth.

 

The Real Waiting Game February 24, 2015

And just like that it all felt real. To me, that is. I know it’s been very real to mom this whole time. And to dad more so after he and Carter watched in awe as the ultrasound took place. But to me it took longer, just like it did the first time.

I wondered all day what was inside the humongous box that arrived at my forever home this morning. I’m usually intrigued at such deliveries, but they are rarely this impressive in size. The delivery man even offered to bring it inside. So began the waiting game, as I wondered and puzzled at what could possibly be contained in such a large cardboard vessel. And patience is not a gift of mine. Somewhere Out There

My questions were answered not very long after dad returned from that place called work. With the help of a very curious dear baby Carter, he tore open the box to reveal several large pieces of wood. About an hour and a half later, voila! It all made sense. Everything pieced together into a beautiful crib for our new little person. Dad hung some of the art he and mom picked out for the room, too. And a mobile just like Carter’s (with a dog that looks just like me) was assembled.

Mom cried at the sight of everything starting to come together. Tears of joy. From the ground up, they are the only kind of tears I don’t mind seeing around my forever home. And in that moment, as I stood by her side in what was not all that long ago dear Carter’s room, it felt real for me.

In a few short months, a new little person will be sleeping in that crib. I can still picture the first time mom and dad carefully placed Carter in his crib. He looked so tiny then. Almost too tiny to be sleeping alone in such a big space. But he survived. And so will the new little person.

That wait to find out what was inside the box was nothing. Now the real waiting game begins for me.

 

 

To Be Loved October 23, 2014

It took a the better part of a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal. And patience, lots and lots of patience. Oh, and I guess there was some laying on the ground involved, too (though that doesn’t sound so bad to me). After all of this, a dog named Cricket now knows how it feels to be loved.

About a week ago, I shared a story of a hero of mine named Emily, who took a good deal of time out of her life to rescue two stray dogs in her neighborhood in Dallas, Texas. A patriot for rescue dogs, she over the span of a couple of weeks personally took on the emotionally tasking job of reeling in the dogs, who she named Dallas and Cricket. It wasn’t easy for Emily or the dogs, as she worked diligently to earn their trust.Feeling thoughtful

It was easier for Dallas, who only took a few days before he recognized her as the hero she is. Cricket was a bit more stubborn. Because of my own personal experiences with the man with the leather belt, I know all too well some possible reasons for her hesitation. I don’t blame her one bit.

But I also know the love of a person. I know how warm my heart feels when I snuggle with my forever family. I know joy, from the ground up. I live these things each and every day because someone like Emily took the time to do the same for me.

So it is with the sincerest sense of glee that I report the good news. It took four Chicken McNuggets. And patience. And even some time laying on the pavement (which apparently is something people don’t usually do). But dear Emily earned Cricket’s trust a few days after she did the same for Dallas. And now both are together again at a fabulous place called ARROW Dog Rescue, on the path to being adopted into forever homes.

Persistence is a very powerful thing on its own. Combine it with passion? You’ve got a recipe for success. Or, at least in this case, you’ve got a recipe for a fresh start for two very fortunate dogs. Especially in the technological age of all things text message and Snapchat, it is so important to reach out to others because you never know who will reach back. And to me, it’s a lesson not only in selflessness, but in the importance of staying true to your beliefs. Staying true to yourself. Fighting for what’s important. It’s a lesson in not just living life, but making it a better place to be.

 

 

You Just Wait March 12, 2014

Apparently it’s one of those things parents say to each other. Like the never ending piece of advice stuck on repeat in the CD player. And while I’m usually all for taking in and putting to practice any piece of advice or wisdom, this has (of late) been one of my least favorite tracks. You just wait.

When my forever mom was up all night because baby Carter was beat boxing on her ribs, people told her. You just wait. After he was born and he was sleeping in teeny tiny increments of time, people told her. You just wait. Even now, when he’s starting to interact with the world in both smiles and experimental cries, people tell her. You just wait. Cuddles

And I will tell you. Each and every time someone says this, I watch as she visibly tenses up and I know better than anyone else what she’s thinking. YOU just wait. Because here’s the thing about unsolicited advice and wisdom. It’s great when it means something positive. And it’s even all right when it means something negative, as long as it’s delivered in the right way. But even when you’re a boy dog who will never in a million years understand the mystery of birth, I can hear it.

There is something grating about hearing someone imply things will get worse before they will get better. It doesn’t matter if its family life, work life, personal life, or whatever sort of life path you’re on – it just plain sucks to hear even the slightest implication of things being worse on the horizon.

That is, until you live it. I know it grated on my mom’s nerves when people told her to “just wait” for what sleep would be like after the baby was born. I know it the same as I know things will only be getting more complicated from here as Carter figures out his emotions. Happy and sad. Love and hate. Chaos and peace. You just wait.

It’s a track that has been stuck on repeat far too long around here. And yet I know its one we need to hear. Not necessarily as its intended from its various unsolicited advisors. Because tone has no place in true wisdom. Instead I would rather cherish the good things that come to those who “just wait.” I cherish the first full night’s sleep my people have had in a while. And these first smiles that are happening on purpose. And that look of recognition when mom and dad talk and he seems calmed by their voices.

As one who has just waited, I can definitely confirm a certain and undeniable truth. It’s always worth the wait.

 

My Newborn Baby Survival Kit March 1, 2014

I told you so. I don’t often say such things, but in this case I need to take credit where credit is due. I said it six months ago and I will say it again. Too much is too much when it comes to the ridiculously copious amounts of baby things people can buy these days.

In my opinion it’s an awful tirade on the hormonal instability of first-time expectant mothers who are by nature on a quest to nest. Sure, the purchase of baby things had a direct inverse relationship to the amount of doggie things coming through the door of my forever home. But that didn’t bother me like this does.The "stuff" and me Bumbo chair

Ultimately, it’s just stuff. That’s what dad said tonight as we got Carter ready for bedtime. If we’d only known what we really needed, he said. That is exactly true. But as life would have it, you often don’t know these things until you’re living through them. And while experience has demonstrated the importance of baby accoutrement like the Boppy pillow, sleep sacks, and sleepers that zip (rather than snap), I have developed my own list of necessities for surviving those crucial first weeks as a new parent.

1. Sleep. Get it when you can. It doesn’t matter if its five minutes or five hours. Every little bit counts. (Almost) everything else stems from this.

2. Patience. It’s happened to mom. It’s happened to dad. Sometimes there just isn’t enough patience to go around. But any time you can catch yourself and remember to be patient is better than a time you didn’t.

3. Love. I’m not talking puppy love. I’m talking the unconditional love us canines have so graciously mastered. It’s not always easy to speak and act in love when you’re overtired and hungry and can’t remember the last time you showered, but it is a worthwhile investment that pays priceless dividends.

4. Family. Whether they are blood relatives or family friends, it really does take a village. Also, it helps if this village brings food whenever possible. That’s the last thing on the mind of an overtired set of parents even though it’s entirely vital.

5. Joy. It’s the only defense against the stress.

Things you won’t find on this list? An extra dozen pacifiers. Or three different kinds of receiving blankets. Or even that silly Bumbo chair. And that’s just during pregnancy. Needs can blur with wants in any scenario life hands us. But regardless of where you are in your walk of life, the lesson remains the same. Needs and wants can get a little fuzzy sometimes, but the best things are those money can’t buy.

 

Listen Here Baby November 1, 2013

I wish babies could read minds. If they could, I have a few messages I’d like to communicate through my mom’s baby bump. Some are subliminal (preparing him or her for a future as my best friend forever, for example). Others are growing in importance to me by the day.

If I could send a message tonight it would be for my soon-to-be little person to quit being a tease. At 29 weeks, mom has been feeling somersaults and practice breaths for several weeks now. And it brings her such joy (even in the night when I know that is what’s waking her). But lately every time the baby is dancing and mom tries to help dad feel the activity one of two things happen. Either the movement is too tiny for dad to feel or the baby choses that moment to stop hearing the music altogether.I'm Talking To You

They looked so blissful there for a few minutes – dad with his hand on mom’s bump, with mom’s hand on top of his. I could see the excitement in both of their faces as they waited. But they waited. And kept waiting. And finally, patience gave way to disappointment for all parties involved.

“Hey listen here baby,” I thought with all my doggie might, “get moving so dad can finally feel what all of the fuss is about.” No response. I looked at my people and wished at least for them to be able to hear me remind them to find joy even in the disappointment. No response.

You would think that five years of doggie life would teach me my messages don’t always cross the language barrier. It’s not the first time I’ve sent the baby a silent instant message that was never received. And I know it certainly won’t be the last. Not only that, but I feel for dad as a bystander in this whole process. I know he worries about whether he’s being supportive enough, or saying the right thing, or doing his part to prepare the house for the baby. I know because I feel the same way.

But patience is virtue as they say. Perhaps that is among the lessons meant to be learned from all of this. I’m no mind reader myself, but I can see that pregnancy has brought to life a patience in the Schmidt house that unites us all. We all just can’t wait to meet the little person already.

If only I could somehow “adopt the pace of nature” as transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson described, as “her secret is patience.” While a good reminder, I must admit that knowing this secret doesn’t change things for me. I still wish babies could read minds.

 

Worth The Wait September 28, 2013

I’m definitely with mom on this one. Pregnancy math sucks. Leave it to people to make something so simple into something so complicated.

The way I understand it, science dictates the pregnancy actually starts two weeks prior to conception and runs for forty weeks. So you get a two-week head start but (this is where I get confused) because of it you’re actually pregnant for 10 months instead of the nine months with which every woman is familiar? That seems cruel enough on its own.My Lamp Is Lit

Add to it the way us canines process time and it makes sense to me why dogs only carry puppies for a little more than two months. But (as I understand this is something I most definitely cannot control) I begrudgingly digress.

Instead I focus on the real problem at hand. I simply cannot wait a moment longer to meet my little person. I have big ideas. Grand plans. Games I’ve developed in my head. None of which I can put into action until I meet the new addition to the family. We’re going to play chase around the house, and share food, and (obviously) become best friends.

Yet (at least from what I’m hearing around here) mom has 16 weeks to go. 16 weeks! That feels like a lifetime. But as I am in the habit of finding a silver lining I realized something today – it’s not a lifetime I intend to waste. Instead I shall continue scheming and dreaming.

The idea came to me today as I was feeling especially philosophical in the backyard. It was a beautiful fall day in Wisconsin and (as I rested my eyes) while lazing in the grass, my thoughts turned to the future. The backyard has this funny impact on me on days like today – like all of the stars align and it can somehow transport me through time. Or maybe I’m just crazy.

Nonetheless, my images of the future were all happy ones. My little person and I are playing together in the grass. There is giggling and wagging. There is nonsense conversation (as the little person is no more than two years old). There is friendship and love. There is joy from the ground up.

Frustrating as pregnancy math may be, it reminds me a bit of the words of Christian author Tertullian who once said “hope is patience with the lamp lit.” I certainly can’t wait for three years from now when all of these dreams come alive. Heck, I can barely wait three (or is it four?) more months to meet the little one. But my lamp is definitely lit. Hope is in my heart. These dreams will come alive. I know they will. We will be best friends. And it will be worth the wait.

 

Paws For A Cause September 3, 2013

The sun is always shining. No one goes hungry. And everyone has a dog.

There is a common misconception (even among my people) that dogs who stay home alone while they’re away at that place called work do nothing but sleep their days away. While there is some truth to this (I do nap throughout the day), one thing is for sure. Among other things, my mind is always an active place where the sun shines, there is plenty of food to go around, and everyone knows the love of a dog.Hard At Work

Waking and sleeping, these are parts of a much larger dream world I spend a lot of time in throughout my days. We all have one – a “happy place” in our minds we retreat to in good times and bad. And it looks different for everyone. But every now and then something reminds me that its all just a dream. That is, until I do something to make it a reality.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer,” suggested American patriot Harriet Tubman. “Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Strength. Patience. Passion. These are the ingredients for positive change.

Albeit I have absolutely no control over the sun (nor do I think it would actually be that great an idea for it to shine literally all the time). I also cannot solve the global problem that is world hunger no matter how badly I wish I could. And I can’t undo the allergies people have to pet dander.

But I can stand firmly behind a cause. Animal rescue. If strength, patience and passion create a recipe for dreamer success, rescue is itself my recipe come to life. Rescue is a second chance. Renewal. A fresh start.

In my dreamscape, no one in need of rescue would go ignored. Because there’s this surprising thing I’ve noticed about my dream of being rescued becoming a reality. Its contagious. Many of the dogs I know who were rescued in turn rescued their person in some way. Not always, and perhaps not right away, but in some (literal or figurative) way, the rescuee becomes the rescuer.

It is this above all else that I dream about while my people are away at that place called work all day. I dream about helping others find their forever people just as I did. About second chances. About hope. Hope for positive change in the lives of others. My efforts might be small in the grand scheme of things. But they’re not small to me.

An organization called Rescue Pledge believes in the power of rescue just like me.
Please consider standing with me. Take the Rescue Pledge today.

 

Patience Is Virtue August 8, 2013

If there’s something us canines generally struggle with, it’s this people concept that patience is virtue. We’re not good at waiting. Stay is my least favorite trick. And don’t get me started on when dad challenges me to sit still until he says I can take my delicious rawhide. Patience is not my strong suit. But last night I got a glimpse at this virtue patience can bring. This sense of hope. Happiness. Light at the end of the tunnel.

I have been kind of a mess thinking about the story of Cabela, the dog who was blown up by a man in Washington a few days ago. I felt terrible when I finished blogging about it last night. I hate not being able to find a silver lining in any story. And it seems my negative feelings were contagious, based on the feedback I’ve gotten about the devastation, terror and grief this horrific story has sparked in people. Good News, All!

So you can imagine my relief when it happened, a mere fifteen minutes or so after I put my thoughts on this awful story out there for the world to read. I wanted to get involved somehow, to let someone know what happened is in no way acceptable. I wanted to do something. No, I had to do something.

On a whim, I sent a message to Cabela’s former owner Ty Freemantle all the way in Washington. I told him how sorry I was to hear the story, how scared I was that things like this are actually happening, and how helpless I felt to do anything about it. You see, there’s this thing about patience. It pays off. Granted, it didn’t take long so the employment of the waiting game wasn’t nearly as exhausting as it could have been.

Because I found my silver lining. Freemantle responded to my message almost instantly, sincerely thanking me for taking an interest in his story. Our conversation was brief, but the virtue was clear. The story broke a mere few days ago, and already Freemantle has been showered with thoughtfulness and prayers from people (and dogs in my case) all over the world. It’s no surprise to me that the animal lovers out there have united, as this is what we do. What did surprise me was what Freemantle said next.

He has decided to use his grief as fuel for positive change, which sounds an awful lot like a silver lining if you ask me.

“It scares me that maybe if I didn’t stand up he would have gotten away with it, and that someone else could do the same thing and walk free,” he said. “This set a fire inside me and I’m starting a organization to work on changing the animal cruelty law from such narrow specifications on what is and is not qualified.”

The ultimate goal would be to ensure that any act of aggression to an animal shall be punished by animal cruelty charges. As a survivor of animal abuse, I told him I am obviously a wholehearted supporter of his cause. I pledged to do anything I can to help. Because I know it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to happen overnight. And us canines are no good at being patient. But now that I know the good that waits at the end of the patience path, I’d say it’s worth the wait.