Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Middle December 30, 2013

It all started with a fairly routine trip to Petco. I was there for a quick nail trim (in between visits to my regular groomer) and one would think I would have been sidetracked by all of the 50% off holiday toys and treats. No such thing. Instead I spotted them right away and I could tell exactly how they had spent their day.

It was a family of four, complete with a mom and a dad and their two little girls. With them stood a patient and surprisingly well-behaved terrier mix who (with a little help from mom) I later learned to be named Cooper. And the cart. From puppy training pads to Petco’s very best all-natural treats and dog food, it was loaded to the brim with everything a family taking in a new dog could possibly need.

Reflecting on lifeBut Cooper wasn’t just any new dog. He was a one-year-old rescue dog, his mom explained, and they had just adopted him for Christmas. The older of the two little people (who I would guess to be about five-years-old) was gripping Cooper’s leash like the lifeline I know it to be. When I saw the way her little hands proudly held that leash, it was like she was holding something in my heart. In that moment, I was overwhelmed with excitement and joy and happiness and the slightest bit of cautious anxiety for the journey on which this family was about to embark.

Under most circumstances, the anxiety is abnormal for me. At least in my world, a house is not a home without the special pet who (in his or her own unique way) somehow completes the picture. I think that’s why I felt a certain cautious emotion I recognized as anxiety.

Because I know one too many dogs who have recently left their forever homes for the Rainbow Bridge. Snuggledog was put down after he got so sick and the doggie doctors couldn’t figure out what to do to help him. He was three. A few days earlier Rusty took his 15 years of wisdom with him to doggie heaven. And then only a couple of nights ago, eight-year-old Raider got a little too interested in something in the road and was hit by a speeding car.

It starts and ends with my otherwise routine trip to Petco. Amidst so much loss, my encounter with Cooper and his new family struck such a tender chord in my heart. This week, as the family and friends of Snuggledog, Rusty and Raider pick up the broken pieces of their hearts, Cooper’s family becomes whole as he settles into his forever home. Life. From the ground up, each day is precious whether we are at the beginning or the end of our journey. Because ultimately it’s how we spend the middle that counts.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Car Ride To Nowhere September 23, 2013

I went on a car ride to nowhere today. Well, it wasn’t exactly nowhere. It was to a place called Best Buy to get some kind of gadget I don’t understand. Dogs aren’t allowed inside, so I can’t say it is one of my favorite people stores (like Petco and Pet World, for example). And I didn’t get out of the car at all. Loving Life

But that didn’t really matter to me. What mattered was the context of my outing to nowhere: the company I kept. It was a random car ride on what I’ve come to recognize as a weeknight and (gasp) it was dad’s idea to have me come along. This is normal for mom (who regularly brings me along on those things called errands) but not for dad.

Mom frequently brings me along as we make our way from parking lot to parking lot. Not dad. He gets anxious when I voice my excitement about wherever we’re going (usually in the context of a whine or whimper). Not tonight. Tonight he wanted me by his side. He wanted his little copilot as he occasionally calls me when mom’s not around.

To be honest, it didn’t really matter to me where we went. It never does. But tonight was special to me even though we didn’t go to the park. Or the pet store. Or to see Mary the groomer (even though I’m overdue for a trim). Tonight we didn’t go anywhere in particular as far as I’m concerned. Best Buy doesn’t count since I can’t go inside and they apparently don’t sell anything for dogs there. In spite of that, it was a pretty great ride. It occurred to me as I waited patiently in the driver’s seat while dad was in the store. Even when you’re going nowhere, you really are going somewhere if you’re with the right person.

It brought to mind the thoughts of American sideshow performer Elizabeth Green, who once suggested “sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.”

I’m blessed enough that regular car rides are a fairly routine luxury for me. It’s nice when we end up somewhere like the dog park or the groomer, but ultimately it doesn’t really matter where we end up. Even if its at that Best Buy place where they don’t even sell dog toys (what kind of store with that many gadgets doesn’t carry dog toys?). Even if I don’t get out of the car at all. It doesn’t matter where we’re going nearly as much as who we’re with along the way.


Does That Make Me Bad? June 6, 2013

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:28 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I did something kind of crazy today. It was one of those moments when my nature completely took over my mind. And in the blink of an eye, it was too late. I peed on my mom at the dog park this afternoon. There, I said it. (Even worse, I did it).

Proud of SelfThis, from the dog who has never (seriously, never) tinkled or pooped in my forever home. I don’t even like when I can’t help it and throw up by the back door on occasion. I know the rules, and don’t make a habit of breaking them. But I did today.

I can’t explain it. One minute I was wrestling with my golden retriever pal Boone, and the next minute he was peeing on my mom’s leg. Like a fire hose. On her surgery leg. The leg that has been to hell and back in the last year and has the scars to prove it. My reaction was instinctual: back up off it, dude! That’s my mom you’re marking! My mom? My MOM!?

That’s when it happened. Up went my leg, and the rest is dog park history. I knew as I was doing it I was in the wrong. I shouldn’t have made matters worse, and yet I couldn’t help myself.

Then I remembered something. It was like a memory coming full circle. It was the day my parents brought me home from the humane society, and we made a stop at Petco (where the pets go) for a crate. Right there in the middle of the store, I lifted my leg and peed on my dad’s leg. I was so excited and overwhelmed and happy and (I didn’t know it yet) in love.

So I did something kind of crazy today. I peed on my mom’s leg. I never do stuff like that. But the more I thought about why I did it, the less guilty I felt about it. It’s the same reason I marked my dad in the Petco that day. They are my people, I love them, and I’ve peed on both of them. I’m over it. I don’t plan on doing it again (unless provoked), but I don’t regret it. Does that make me bad?