Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Walk of Friendship July 22, 2014

I’m not ashamed to admit it. After all, everyone has their flaws, right? Mine are few and far between (of course), but I do have them like anyone else. One of them finds its home in one of my very favorite activities: the walk.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a quick jaunt around the block or a hike on a beautiful mountain trail. That obedience school business of walking alongside my forever mom or dad? Forget about it. It’s just one of those things I haven’t quite mastered and I would be lying if I said I wanted to because I don’t. I like feeling (somewhat) free to smell and investigate and learn and meet new animals and their people. It’s nothing against my walker at the time. These are the things that bring a walk to life in my opinion.
But today I got to thinking about it within the psychological construct of friendship. Mom and dad and dear baby Carter left for a few hours tonight to go see some friends they haven’t seen much of since mom changed jobs a few months back. These are all good friends who my mom loves and I love by proxy. They have all come and gone as Carter was a newborn and now an infant. But time and distance has made it harder to get together recently. Until tonight.Friends
Tonight all they got together and caught up and smiled and laughed. (I only wished I’d been there to see it (not only because I love seeing my people happy, but also because I miss these people). Instead, I heard the evening recapped upon their return home, which was (almost) as good as being there in doggie person. Because there was joy in friendship tonight.
It’s the kind of friendship French-Algerian philosopher Albert Camus wrote of when he said “don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
I’m happy for my people they have friends who walk beside them. Even when they fall behind or run ahead, they all catch up from time to time. And those are the moments that make me think. Maybe I’ve been going about the whole walk thing the wrong way. Dogs are a man’s best friend after all. It might be time to make a change. In the meantime, though, I will give thanks for friendship. From the ground up, it really is a sparkplug for joy.

The Alien Visitor December 27, 2013

It’s about the right size. And it’s plush like my other toys. Except apparently it’s not for me. It’s for the baby. And I have to say, in my little doggie opinion it’s among the strangest things that has taken up residence in the nursery.

At first I wasn’t sure what to make of that crib contraption which will apparently keep me from cuddling with my new little person. Then I was thrown off by the big huge boxes labeled “diapers.” There are just so many! This baby couldn’t possibly require that many diapers. (Right?) Then came the little blue seahorse. At least that’s what my people call it. I call it the alien visitor, which I feel accurately reflects my denial to its presence.

It looks like something I’d love to sink my teeth into and give a good shake. Yet I can tell that is not going to earn me any brownie points any time soon. Because this is a toy for baby Schmidt, mom explained to me, not for doggies.Seahorse and I - We are not friends

There’s that darned phrase again. I know it all too well. Not for doggies. Well, at least in this case, it’s fine with me that this seahorse and I do not become friends. The toy is not of my concern.

I realized today (as I kept a safe distance from the wave-like sounds the seahorse was making) that can be said of any of the toys my little person will receive. I know there’s also a teddy bear that makes sounds and a little Scottie dog. But none of these things can come close to the relationship I plan to have with him or her.

We are going to laugh and run and play together. (All in due time, I know). We are going to take long walks together and I’m going to teach him or her games like pickle in the middle and chase. We are going to be best friends. I can feel it. And I can hardly wait.

“Friendship improves happiness and abates misery,” suggested Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero, “by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.” As frightening as it can be with all it’s different lights and sounds, that seahorse is more than a visitor. I think he’s staying a while. But that’s okay because I know in my heart he doesn’t have anything on me.


Crazy Stupid Love November 20, 2013

Light of foot is not a phrase I would use to explain us canines. Between chasing and galloping and jumping and pawing at various stimuli, we aren’t that great at sneaking up on anything. Other than enabling us to do these things, our paws aren’t good for much. We can’t eat with them. We lack the opposable thumbs required to do things that hands are capable of.

And sometimes it drives me crazy. I’m not one to complain about things, but when there is an itch behind my ear that I can’t scratch I find myself longing for the hands I lack. I try with all my might sometimes to get at it, but I just can’t reach. Or my nails are to long. Or too short. All of these things are ultimately out of my control. And it’s exhausting.

But I realized something today. There I was, scratching away, and it happened. Mom interceded and the next thing you know, the itch was gone. She simply used her hands to scratch around the vicinity I was focusing on and everything was suddenly all was right with my world again. I felt overcome with crazy stupid love for my mom, not just because I wasn’t itchy anymore but because she loved me enough to help me in my time of need.Just a little closer

In that moment I was reminded that everyone feels this way sometimes. With that goal that’s just out of reach. With that deadline that’s impossible to meet. Or maybe in that relationship that doesn’t quite fit. It can drive a person crazy feeling simultaneously so close and so far away from something.

But that’s why we have people around us to help us in our times of need. To be our support system when that relationship doesn’t go as we wish it had. Or to help us finish that project on deadline. And (perhaps most importantly) to keep us motivated.

“Love is friendship that has caught fire,” suggested American newspaper columnist Ann Landers. “It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.”

Let’s face it. Nobody’s perfect. And, in the case of us canines, one of our weaknesses is a set of four fairly useless paws. So it’s a good thing I’m blessed with people who help me through. I have loyalty and love and understanding. I have friendship caught on fire. That’s nothing I’d want to catch with my paws anyway. I’d much rather catch all of that with my heart.