Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Writer’s Best Friend May 13, 2013

John Steinbeck had Charley. Stephen King has Marlowe. Dean Koontz has Trixie. There is something a lot of writers seem to have in common: they have human whisperers. Their canine companions lend a fresh sense of imagination and unconditional love that inspire.

Writer's Block?“A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down,” American humorist Robert Benchley joked. All kidding aside, I think there is truth in the perspective man’s best friends offer to writing. Ironically, the silent understanding between owner and dog is some of the most powerful communication methods.

I would argue that is one of the reasons why science is supporting that having a pet can increase longevity in a human’s life, according to Forbes and NBC News.

“I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives, and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race,” prolific Scottish writer Sir William Scott said. “For if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?”

Indeed, I have lost enough doggie pals to heaven in my life to know the aftermath they leave behind. People have funerals to celebrate life of lost loved ones, and many people families do the same for their canines who leave us to go to doggie heaven. But while the tears and emotions of a people funeral are normally present, words are generally kept to a minimum. As it was the same in life, it seems only fitting it is that way in death.

I can’t explain the connection I feel with my forever people, or with my extended forever family. I think that’s one of the things that makes it so special. Isn’t it ironic then, that this unspoken connection makes its way into words in books and blog and even social media platforms? It’s one of the most striking examples of give and take I can think of. Even though I struggle to explain the connection, it is what inspires every blog post. It among the emotional fodder for greats like Steinbeck, King, and Koontz.

It’s funny how us human whisperers speak so loudly without ever muttering a word.


Momma and Me March 13, 2013

From what I’ve heard, it was a bit of a fiasco for my adoptive parents to adopt me. Rather than delve into that whole emotional story right now, I will offer a Reader’s Digest version. To make a very long story (I’m sure I will share at a later date) short, my momma didn’t care what it took to adopt me. It was love at first sight if you believe in such things (which I do).

Apparently, the adoption profiler gave her a bit of grief about the fact that my dad didn’t have prior experience with animals, referenced my alleged behavioral issues, and challenged whether my soon-to-be adoptive parents were prepared to handle such a “handful with a cute face.” Well, my momma told that profiler she didn’t care that I had been previously returned by another adoptive family. She was fine taking me to a behaviorist for my apparent behavioral issues prior to adoption. Heck, she was prepared to adopt a puppy like they did in the movie adaptation of “Marley and Me.”Momma and Me

But she wanted little ole 2-year-old me. Fortunately for me we both won that battle, and our mutual appreciation for “Marley and Me” remains intact. And (in my humble opinion) this is the case because I care so much about author John Grogan’s perspective on dogs.

“A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water log stick will do just fine. A dog doesn’t care if your rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his,” Grogan writes. “How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?”

Like many dog-loving fans, we agree that the book was the slightest bit better than the movie, but both versions are pretty special to momma and me. I was around for the majority of  momma’s first reading of the book, and I can testify that she laughed, cried, smiled and everything in between. If anyone were to write my biography, I would want it to be Mr. John Grogan himself.

This is not just because of the brilliance of both adaptations of “Marley and Me,” but because of what he says in his emotional good bye to Marley at the end of the story.

That is the ultimate reflection of a dog’s joy: from the ground up, if you ask little ole me.