Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Jumping For Joy March 30, 2014

Apparently it’s frowned upon. It’s one of those behaviors that helps earns a dog (who shall remain unnamed) the title of obedience school drop out. It’s one of those things that makes a lot of people say “no!” in loud voices. Jumping. From the ground up, it is literally one of my life’s true conundrums.

JoyBecause my forever people seem to like it. From day one, I have reacted to the simple motion of a person patting their legs while standing as a cue they would like me to jump into their arms. Obviously that must be why they are patting their legs like that. So I use the imaginary springs in my legs to jump two or three feet into the air and voila! Success for all parties.

Unfortunately not everyone understands this gesture as the sign of joy it is meant to be. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that the thought of catching my 23-pound frame would seem daunting if one is physically unprepared. But it got me to thinking today about the unique power of the unexpected.

The unknown. From the ground up, I know it can be scary. And usually there is no way to prepare. But if we overcome it by bringing fear to purpose, it can become a beacon of joy. If we let it.

This is not to say my methods of jumping for joy are always the best. To each his own. At least I know it works for me. And for my people. And, as it turns out, it worked on the photographer visitors that were here in my forever home recently. It turns out they didn’t forget about me at all. They actually included me in a second version of the commercial, which begins with a lovely image of mom and baby Carter.

Of all things, I was jumping. There I am doing the thing that most dog trainers frown upon. The naughty thing that gets dogs like me kicked out of obedience school. The thing that seems to elicit the “no” response more than most other things I do. There I am doing what I do best. Jumping for joy. I don’t think I will ever be convinced it’s such a bad thing.

To see the second version of the commercial: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=573205620437&l=8948471090623811603

 

 

Give and Take March 28, 2014

It’s been a long time coming. Yet it seemed to pass with the blink of an eye. Today was mom’s last day at that place called work. And I thought she’d be excited. Instead I was met with mixed emotions upon her return home. It wasn’t until later that I understood why.

Get what you giveIt had been a busy day around here, with my grandma and aunt Morgan spending time with baby Carter and I. There was an incident involving a teeny tiny cut that happened when Morgan was cutting Carter’s itsy bitsy nails. He cried. Grandma and Morgan cried. If I could, I would have cried. It was tough on everyone because we all know no one would intentionally hurt our dear little person. Yet he was hurt today.

I thought it was oddly poetic that mom seemed a little hurt too. She invested a tremendous amount of herself in that place, but even more so in the people it included. They became her work family. They came to her with troubles and she never once turned them away. As they took other opportunities in and outside the organization, she celebrated their success. She worked almost as hard to foster relationships as she did at her job itself.

So today, when she left the office for the last time with her box of office keepsakes, she did so with a heavy heart. Because she quite honestly didn’t feel very loved. Her work family let her go with very little fanfare. It was all too soon forgotten how she cared for them in time of need. And as she is taking an opportunity outside the organization, very few peopled celebrated her success.

But that’s the thing about give and take. It doesn’t always turn out like we plan. Just like no one would intentionally hurt dear baby Carter, I believe no one meant to hurt mom today. And I think deep down she knows that too. Or at least she does a pretty good job of pretending.

Because it has indeed been a long time coming. And it has passed in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t matter that mom didn’t take much fanfare home with her today. She gave 110%. That’s what really matters anyway.

 

Seeking Selflessness February 15, 2014

Her name was Olivia. And she was the most beautiful spaniel mix I’d ever seen. Granted, I only saw her on a computer screen and didn’t actually meet her in person. But mom did and she tells me she was pretty swell. At the tender age of two months old, she was a black and brown bundle of puppyhood joy. And she almost became part of my forever family today.

My dear aunt Morgan has been searching for her first fur baby of her own for more than a year. She has been through a lot on her search, from moments of heartbreak to moments of hope. She has fallen in love with dachshunds and terriers and bearded collies of all ages and sizes. She has considered buying a purebred of some kind, but would really prefer to rescue.

And today she thought for sure she had finally found her match. Olivia looked into her eyes and she just knew. That is, until she didn’t. Mom was there with her to help make this big decision and she tells me they were fetching the adoption paperwork when my dear aunt Morgan did a completely selfless thing. She changed her mind.

Ultimately she couldn’t live with knowing her challenging work schedule that (every now and then) keeps her away from home for 12 hours at a time would simply be too long to leave poor little Olivia alone. I know it was tough for her to leave Olivia’s big brown eyes behind. But that’s not where the story ends for her. She was indeed adopted today by a family who was waiting anxiously for Morgan to make a decision. And I bet she will be happy there.

Because rescue, from the ground up, is the real deal. I am a living breathing example of a rescue success story, and even mine wasn’t perfect. That’s the thing about situations like this. Life in itself is a big deal. It brings us twists and turns and ups and downs. It challenges us. It keeps us on our paws. And when it comes to making big decisions, it frankly sucks sometimes.

Her name was Olivia and she was a game changer. She didn’t join our forever family today but she taught us all a lesson in selflessness and patience. I’ll be the first to admit patience is not something I’m great at. That’s why I know Morgan will find her perfect match soon. Because today she made another tough decision. Today she confirmed she will not settle. And I’m proud of her.

 

Whatever It Takes February 8, 2014

It only costs a dollar. But it is capable of miracles.

The winter blues have claws deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of many in my neck of the woods these days. If it’s not frigidly cold, it’s snowing. If it’s not snowing, it’s frigidly cold. And I am in good company of many Wisconsinites who still find joy in the snow diamonds falling from the sky. But even I can admit it’s been an especially tough winter. I love my backyard paradise, but it is taking a great deal to get me out there recently.Nap time

So I find my joy in other things. Snuggle time with Carter. Quiet time in another room when Carter is screaming. And (this is new) time alone with dad. Mom has been spending the majority of her time taking care of Carter (as it should be), which has freed dad up for some quality time with me.

Tonight our quality time involved cooking a special dinner for mom. Since I’ve won more of his affection lately he’s been especially generous with treats of all kinds, so I was incredibly attentive as he bustled around the kitchen. (They don’t call me the doggie vacuum for nothing). He was making a comfort food staple – macaroni and cheese. And not the gourmet kind with the roux and six different varieties of cheese (which he does also know how to make). The kind you can get for a dollar. Complete with the orange powder.

Generally I’m not that big a fan of the less is more idea. Us canines tend to indulge in whatever comes our way. But tonight less worked wonders on the winter blues. Joy. From the ground up, it happened in the Schmidt house today in spite of those nasty winter blues. And it didn’t take much.

“Your success and happiness lies in you,” Helen Keller suggested. “Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”

That’s the thing about joy – sometimes it takes a little effort to find it amidst the blues. But once you do it almost always is worth the search. Especially when it only costs a dollar.

 

Battle Bra Royale November 10, 2013

It started with a bra. Then one became three. Three became six. Soon the carnage was all over the bedroom floor. Bras. All over the place. And mom. In tears. Inconsolable tears.

So I did what any dog would do. I grabbed myself one of the bras and swung it around to entice mom into a game of tug of war. Surely that would cheer her up. I was thrilled when she took the bait and grabbed the other end. But that was where the fun stopped. The game didn’t last long at all, mostly because we ripped the bra straight in half. I was about to grab another one and start again, but that’s when the sobbing started.I like tug of war

I suppose it was only a matter of time until Battle Baby Bump Royale reared its head again. Except this time, it was worse. A lot worse. This time, it was my mom versus her bras. And the bras won. That’s right, folks. Battle Bra Royale has now commenced at the Schmidt household. It all started off innocent enough, with mom making a stop at Soma (which what would become the first of many different bra stores) on her way home from that place called work the other day.

Joy became her when she came home with her purchase. But the next morning that game of emotional tug of war began again. The dream bra was no more. It had become a nightmare, digging and rubbing into her in all the wrong places. That’s when the crying started. She soldiered herself off to the place called work anyway, only to return home briefly before heading back again. This is when I tried to console her with my games…and failed miserably.

I think it happened overnight. The impossible became possible. There’s no politically correct way to say this, so I’ll just come out with it. Mom has big boobs. Larger than average, by far. And that was pre-pregnancy. Now? Well, apparently three different stores couldn’t help her. They are that large. But just as any good game of tug of war too must come to an end, I am relieved to report this story has a happy ending.

Two painfully emotional days – and four different stores – later, she finally returned home last night with success. The battle has ended. Mom has emerged victorious in her battle of the bras. And I think there is something to be learned from the battle scars. Sometimes the silliest things play tug of war with our emotions. In the moment, the culprit can be hard to recognize. But we can rise above. We can persevere.

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that?” questioned Nobel-prize winning physicist Marie Curie. “We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe we are gifted for something and this thing must be attained.”

It started with a bra. But it doesn’t end there. Mom has been gifted with something pretty special. She’s gifted with the miracle of life that is pregnancy. And when she meets that little person in a mere matter of weeks, I know that’s when the battles won’t matter any more. Because that’s when the war really will be won.