Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

If At First You Don’t Succeed February 1, 2014

The way I see it, they don’t exist. And yet, every now and then, mom says something that seems so strange. It’s such a foreign idea to me, and yet it must be true. Not everyone is a dog person Wiley, she says, usually in response to me doing something she deems intrusive to one of our visitors. (Jumping into their arms the second they sit on the couch, for example).

How can that be? We are so great. We protect. We love unconditionally with all of our being. We never judge. We listen better than most people I know. There is a reason we are called man’s best friend. And yet, if mom says it, I suppose there might be some truth to this idea that perhaps not everyone who comes to my forever home is a dog person.

Most recently, it happened when mom’s friend was over for dinner. I have this habit of scavenging for any bits of crumbs that may have made their way onto the clothes of people when they are done eating. This, of course, follows another habit I’ve been trying to kick (and failing miserably) known as begging throughout the people eating process. I blame my starved puppyhood for my instinct to sniff out any lost bits of delicious smelling food I can. But I digress as apparently these are not behaviors of a “well-mannered” canine.Selfie with the non-dog lover

Regardless of my reasons, I’m definitely a cuddle bug. (At least that is what mom calls me). I snuggle and burrow into places I barely fit all the time just to be close to people. To show them my love. So when mom says this about not everyone being a dog person (therein apologizing for my bad manners) I can’t help but take offense. I do not apologize for the way I chose to share joy with people.

This may sound forward, but I would much rather be the dog who tries to convert even the non-dog-lovers than one who doesn’t bother trying. And it would seem I have my first convert. Her name is Dorian and she was pretty tense around me when I first met her. She and mom have been friends for 14 years so this was something mom knew about her friend – she was not a dog person. She would pet me hello but that’s about it. Well I have managed to change that. Now the two of us snuggle like the best of them. And I know it to be true because the last time she was here, she told me so.

She was in the process of cooing over Carter (something I’ve come quite accustomed to) when she said it. I love you too Wiles, she said, and I think you’ve changed my mind about four-legged friends. Well that was just about one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten. It just goes to show you, you will never know if you don’t try.

“Try and fail, but don’t fail to try,” American author Stephen King suggested. I guess it’s possible that there are non-dog lovers out there. And they are definitely missing out. But if all of this has taught me something its that you can’t take these things at face value. Because it’s always worth it to try.


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.