Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Like Mommy’s Perfume December 3, 2014

I thought it was just a dog thing. I don’t think it’s a secret that us canines do an awful lot of investigating with our noses. We rely on scent to figure out a lot of things people rely on sight for, and our noses are also capable of some pretty powerful things. Like when I knew something was up with mom before she even did when she first was pregnant with dear baby Carter. I have my nose to thank for that.

So the other day when it happened, it definitely caught my attention. While Carter is, for the most part, an angel, he too has his bad days. Days that come as a direct challenge for mom as she spends time trying to soothe him, feed him, get him to nap, etc.

It’s happened a little more frequently lately since recent estimates put his total teeth count up by at least four or five in the next few days. After a particularly taxing emotional day for mom and I (it’s never easy on either of us when there’s a lot of crying involved), dad was consoling an unusually crabby and irritable version of Carter when it happened.

Carter snuggled into dad in the special cuddly way he’s been doing more and more lately and I watched as dad sweetly smelled his little head as he snuggled him close. “Your head smells like mommy’s perfume,” he said, with an unspoken fondness for everything that meant.

It makes sense, of course, that his head would smell like my dear forever mom, since she spent the majority of the day comforting him in any and every way she knew how. So I watched her after she overheard dad say that. I saw the expression on her face as she processed the words. And it might be that she was tired from the long day she had, but I watched as a silent tear fell down her cheek.Buddies

I knew in that moment exactly what she was feeling. Not only because I sometimes think I know her better than I know myself, but because I’ve come to know some new things about my mom since Carter’s been around. That silent little tear was not a tear of sadness. Or exhaustion. Or frustration. It was a tear of joy.

Those simple words were a reminder that everything she did that day was not in vain. Though the crying carried on, she did everything she could to make it stop. And, in reality, she wouldn’t trade the time holding him to calm him down for the world. The time he cried into her chest was special in its own way, I know, because there will be a day when she longs to comfort him and won’t be able to. He will be all grown up and perhaps have children of his own to look after at that point.

That’s why even the most challenging days are worth living. It may take a little sniffing out, but there is always, always, a silver lining.

 

The Perfume of Life June 12, 2013

Dog noses can pick up some pretty incredible scents. We can be trained to hunt for illegal drugs and missing persons. We can find buried treasures in the backyard we stowed away for a special occasion. We can smell that pepperoni pizza before the pizza delivery guy even gets out of his car. Regardless of what we use them for, the dog nose is a pretty priceless asset to us canines.

I use mine for all sorts of good (and evil…that garbage can never sees me coming!), including breathing in all the fabulousness of life I can handle. The fresh green grass after dad finishes with that loud contraption called a lawnmower. The bacon I occasionally get to sample after Saturday brunch. And (perhaps my favorite scent of all) the smell of my people.

I’m not talking the smell after they do their ritualistic readying routines involving various forms of scented shampoos, hair styling products, perfumes and lotions. I’m talking about their natural people smell. It might sound weird, but that is one most heavenly smells to those of us who are fortunate to find forever homes. To us, that is the smell of happiness, love and true joy.

Jess (at 10 weeks) and IAll of this came to the forefront of my doggie heart tonight when we got a visit from my mom’s good friend Jessica (also known as mom of my doggie pal Diesel). From the moment she walked in, I was absolutely enamored with her smell. And while my mom immediately attributed my obsessive sniffing to smelling Diesel, I knew better. I knew better seven months ago when Jessica was frequently visiting my mom after her knee reconstruction surgery, and I know better now. She smells like life. And I’d choose the smell of life over that of any designer perfume.

Sure, there was a faint underlying sense of vanilla and cocoa, but my heart paid no attention to that. She sat on the couch and I couldn’t help myself from sniffing all over her rounded tummy and nuzzling up against her hair. I only half heard the conversation she was having with my mom about how she is feeling with just a few days left before the baby is born. She can’t wait to meet the baby, and (to be honest) neither can I. It smells so good already and it’s not even born yet!

I don’t think I realized it until today, but this smell of life might be my new favorite people smell. It’s not really something I’ve been exposed to in the past, and I’m not likely to be exposed to it too often in my doggie life. So today I breathed it in with all my might because it truly is special. I was reminded at some point amidst my epic sniff fest that a dog’s nose can smell some pretty spectacular things. There are many moments in a dog’s life that we unconsciously give thanks for our gift of smell, but today surpassed that for me. This was no buried bone or pepperoni pizza. I smelled life today. And it smells fabulous.

This post is dedicated to my pal Diesel, who in a few precious days, will become a big doggie brother to baby Sternard. Congrats dude!

Dieselmeister

 

Another Man’s Trash May 14, 2013

The great and infamous “they” say one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure. Well, us canines are masters at making treasure out of life’s most unusual garbage. While some of us are more subtle about it than others, we canines do some pretty good treasure hunting. From garbage cans to discarded Kleenexes, we have a gift of finding gold in the most unusual of places.

Treasure SeekerI got to thinking about this earlier today when laying on the bathroom blanket my people refer to as a bathmat. (I’m so blessed to have people so considerate to lay down this thing called a bathmat specifically for me because the bathroom floor tiles are chilly. I’m sure it has nothing to do with keeping the water off the tiles.) Every morning the Schmidt bathroom offers a myriad of scents and aromas I can’t say I appreciate.

Lotions and potions and perfumes, oh my! It is so confusing to me why my people try to hard to mask their natural (in my opinion beautiful) smell. In the shower they go: body wash, rinse, shampoo, rinse, conditioner, rinse.  Then after the shower, there’s lotions and perfumes (or colognes) and deodorant. It’s exhausting to me.

Why not find treasure in the garbage? Why not embrace one’s natural scent rather than masking it with various lotions and perfumes? I wish I could explain to my people that is why I obsessively roll around in clean clothes and dirty towels. They don’t smell like home. Call me crazy, but I love the natural smell of all my loved ones. Dogs and people alike, I prefer them in their most natural form.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus,” said American author Mark Twain. My eyes, nose, and imagination are finely tuned, if I do say so myself. To me, another person’s garbage is only an imaginative thought away from being my treasure.