Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Words Themselves August 17, 2014

There is this thing about words. In their way they make the world go round. And in other ways, they make the world come to a screeching halt. It’s the kind of parody that can only be in the paradox in itself that is language. Mind you, this is coming from your resident doggie optimist, who himself is incapable of anything other than nonverbal communication.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t witness every single day the power that is words. They can bring light or darkness into a room in an instant. They can bring laughter or joy, or tears and sadness. It really depends on the situation which emotion is evoked by which words. Happy Doggie

I think that is what makes poetry such a special and valuable part of human existence. I can’t necessarily say the same for us four-leggers, as we have much simpler lives with relatively less obstacles before us. The same cannot be said of most of the two-legged people with whom I have come into contact in my time in this life. They have good and bad and ugly things happen that all make poetry in both  brilliant and bittersweet ways.

It’s kind of funny in light of this book I come across every single day on the bookshelf in the living room of my forever home. It’s called “Inside of a Dog,” and I suppose the idea is to dissect the  brain of us four-legged best friends of men. The concept kind of makes me laugh inside, since it is one that sounds about as simple as me dissecting what is happening inside the mind of one of my forever people. They both keep me guessing on a daily basis and (if I’m being honest) it’s more fun that way.

This is why I know my perspective on words is the true and sincerest one you will come across. Because I know in my heart that words are powerful. They might be even more powerful than the emotions behind them. They can bring the world to an emotionally screeching halt, after all. But that is why the poetry behind the words is so valuable.

I think sometimes it can be all too easy to forget the meaning behind the things people say. I wouldn’t know since my only mode of communication is nonverbal. But I see it every single day. The words themselves don’t mean nearly as much as the meaning behind them. So mind what you say, dear friends. Because whether you know it or not, people are listening.

 

Being First Responders March 21, 2014

It happens every year. In fall, Wisconsinites dust of hats, mittens, scarves and winter coats when the temperature first falls below 50 degrees. Then, half a year later comes spring and you’d better believe all of those things have been discarded as soon as the temperature reaches a balmy 40 degrees.

I witnessed the insanity first paw today as I watched many of the usual suspects walking through the neighborhood. Dog jackets have long since been discarded, but now almost no people were in coats. In 40 degree weather. I was especially surprised to see this was the case among the fire fighters and emergency response teams who visited down the street today.

They were running into a house a few homes down when I thought of it. Penny. My beloved cat friend (contrary to popular belief it is possible for dogs and cats to get along) from down the road. Though I’m happy she’s likely been keeping toasty warm inside the home she shares with her person Rose, I’ve missed her bushy little face around my front door step all winter. I was just wondering when I might see her again when the first responders came.

That’s when it hit me. Hard. They were going to Penny’s house. Where her person Rose lives. I remember one of the last times I saw Penny before winter went into full swing she mentioned her dear person was having some health problems. My view was limited since it is several houses down the road, but tonight my heart is heavy for Rose and Penny.

So rather than drive myself crazy thinking of possible negative scenarios, I’ve decided instead to flip the coin. To focus on the positive.

It’s an important job those first responders do (even if they aren’t sensible with their outerwear at this time of year). They are there when someone needs them most. They take care of those in need. They save lives. And as I watched them do their magic today I realized how important it is that we all be first responders from time to time. On the Clock

Certainly the majority of us lack the formal training in CPR and medicine that an emergency medical technician has worked hard to obtain. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be there for someone when they need it most. That doesn’t mean we can’t take care of those in need. That doesn’t mean there aren’t lives out there for saving.

I don’t know what happened down the road today. But I do know this. Today I took an oath to become a first responder in the lives of those around me. Because there is something worth saving in every negative situation.

 

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.