Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Wise Man Listens December 5, 2014

Sleep is a close friend of mine. We’ve basically been best friends forever since day one. I’m sure my schedule in a day consists of no more beauty sleep than the average canine. There’s the early morning and mid-morning naps, followed by the early afternoon and mid-afternoon naps. Usually there’s a late afternoon and evening nap too before it’s finally time for one of my absolute favorite times of the day – bedtime.

An outsider might see this as a waste of time. I see it as the opposite. I do a lot of deep thinking and dreaming big in my sleep. I also usually have one ear open to the world. It’s a trick I learned during my time at the Oshkosh Humane Society that I have perfected over the years. Listening. From the ground up, it’s one of many reasons why we dogs are known as man’s best friend. We listen when we’re asleep. We listen when we’re awake. And when I say we listen, we really listen. Tired from the run

We are present in a way I can’t say all people are, at least from what I’ve observed. I say this with a soft kindness in my heart, because I know it is a skill that takes practice, and not everyone has had the practice necessary to be a good listener. It helps that we can’t talk back, obviously, but it’s more than that. We might not understand all the words that well, but we read emotion like champions.

So I couldn’t help but giggle mentally when I found a scrap of paper dear baby Carter threw on the ground while my forever family ate dinner. According to mom it was something called a fortune from a Chinese cookie. It bothers me that I don’t know who to attribute the quote to (other than to say it was once inside a fortune cookie), but the words stuck with me. “Anyone can hear, but a wise man listens,” the paper read.

Anyone can hear, but a wise man listens. The subtle message in the words is one with which I resonate deeply. I aspire to be wise, which I understand means making wise decisions. Some might argue I’m choosing poorly spending so much time sleeping. I would argue first that I always have one ear open. But more importantly, I would defend myself with the simple truth. I’m resting up.

To be a good dog. To be a good listener. To be a good friend to my people. And it’s because of these things I know there’s a purpose behind everything in life if you chose to listen instead of hear.

 

The Proverbial Dog House July 28, 2014

There really is no excuse for what happened this morning. One minute I was happily exploring my the subconscious otherwise known as my personal dreamland (which today was filled with peanut butter rolled in bacon). The next minute, my tail was being pulled HARD, effectively bringing my delicious dreamy feast to a startling end. And what happened next is something I can’t take back.

I gave dear baby Carter three tries to back away from the tail. One small snarl, followed by a slightly louder and more fierce snarl, followed by the angry nip. It all happened so fast. I didn’t know the third tug came from mom’s hand instead of Carter’s. Clearly she was testing me to gauge my reaction the third time. And I failed. Miserably. Say a Little Prayer

My reaction wasn’t nearly fierce enough to hurt mom, but I realized moments later in the bitter aftermath it probably could have hurt Carter. Pretty badly, in fact. Because mom was mad. And by mad, I mean she was yelling and screaming at me like I’ve never seen her yell and scream at me before. Ever. “BAD DOG, WILEY!” she yelled. “BAD DOG! BAD DOG! BAD DOG! THAT COULD HAVE BEEN CARTER’S FACE!” It went on and on for what seemed like an eternity. I think people forget sometimes that we move along in our minds well before we do in our hearts. But that’s neither here nor there.

The truth is simple. I screwed up. I wasn’t thinking, but that is no excuse. There is no excuse for what happened this morning. And there is punishment in knowing I can never take back that moment. I have to earn back the trust of my dear forever mom, which is something I held so dear. But that’s not even the worst of it. The worst of it is not the anger or the yelling. It’s the disappointment. I could see it in her eyes (which almost instantaneously welled up with tears) and I could hear it in her voice. She was disappointed in me. And that is truly heartbreaking.

But today, as I recommit and ask God for better patience with the ever-more-mobile dear baby Carter, I pause to reflect on the words of well-known American politician Martin Luther King Jr., who said “there can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”

Thank goodness for that because I think I’ll be spending a little time in the proverbial dog house for a while.