Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Dream Come True November 7, 2014

I’ve never been good at math. Reading? Sure? Writing? Well, I’d like to think so at least. But math? I’m rubbish at anything involving numbers. So when I try to figure out the people vs. doggie time vortex, it gives me a headache. I know there is something like one people year being equal to about seven dog years, but trying to figure out how that breaks down to minutes, hours or days seems impossible to me.

None of that mattered today. Time stood still. It could have happened in moments or hours, I can’t be sure. And frankly, it didn’t matter. Because I had one of the best dreams I can recall, as many are all-too-frequently forgotten the moment I awake. In itself it was a dream come true. Literally. Wiles and Carter

I could speak in my dream, but only to one person. Dear baby Carter, at his tender age of 10 months old, could understand me. Just as I’ve longed for him to ever since that special moment all those months ago when I knew my beloved forever mom was pregnant. I don’t know why and I don’t know how, but somehow he could understand what I was telling him (though he couldn’t talk back).

It was an interesting study in time, as I don’t know how long it really lasted or how long I had within the dream to get my message across. So I started with the first and one of the most important thing I could think of.

Cherish time, I told him. I know it seems like it will never end right now, but it will. Time with people you love will draw to a close one day. Time to be adventurous will one day give way to time to be practical. Make a difference while you can. Because in the end, it’s not money or technology or houses that are worth the most. It’s time. From the ground up, time is one of the most valuable things you will ever have. Don’t waste a second of it.

He pet my ear like he understood, I closed my eyes to enjoy the moment, and it was gone.

I was awake, right where I had last been on the chair with mom and Carter. Mom was falling asleep holding a very snuggly Carter (which is a rare occurrence around here now that he’s a grown-up 10-month-old). I could practically feel my heart swelling with love in that moment. Not just because it was a special something between mother and son, but because it’s like mom and Carter somehow got my message.

I know it’s not possible as well as I know and admit I can’t do math to save my life. But that doesn’t change the simple fact that today literally contained a dream come true.


That Silly Little Sleep Smile September 13, 2014

It’s back. And in a way, so am I.

After a several month hiatus, I might dare say the snuggle master otherwise known as dear baby Carter has returned. Not only that, but the revival has brought with it another thing of the (not-so-distant) past. The silly little sleep smile that first brought a joyful tear to mom’s eyes all those months ago has returned to Carter’s cuteness repertoire.

Apparently mom first noticed it as she rocked Carter to sleep last night, and it happened again tonight. It’s nothing I could see from my vantage point (especially since it was dark), but just hearing her talk about it so fondly, as if it was something she thought she might have lost touch with forever, really brought home something for me. 2014-04-23 21.13.34 20140609_095937

I was being rather aloof for a few months there. All of the time I’d spent in my little doggie life dreaming about what it would be like to have my very own little person became a reality for which I don’t think I was adequately prepared. I had envisioned the games of fetch and running around together in my backyard paradise. I hadn’t exactly imagined the loud noises (which all amplify with my fine-tuned doggie hearing) and the fur and tail pulling (ouch!). I also didn’t realize especially my mom could love something more than she loved me. (Other than dad, obviously).

But alas, since the day he was born, mom will tell anyone who will listen about how she never knew she could love something so little so much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for her. I’m happy she’s so happy. She’s a completely different (more genuinely joyful) person than she was when I started this blog all of those months ago.

I think it’s probably something every fur baby who preceded the first child in a forever home comes across. The reality is I’m no longer top dog around here. And, while that has taken some getting used to (primarily by means of me hiding out in various locations where people aren’t in my forever home) I think I’m over it.

That silly little sleep smile is back. And in a way so am I. I realized it tonight as I curled up on the rug in Carter’s room I know is there specially for me. I could tell mom was seeing that silly little sleep smile because her smile (and her happy tears) gave it away. I’m not doing anyone any favors by hiding away. Ultimately all I’m doing is missing the joyful moments that make the chaotic ones worth living. That ends today.



A New Leaf August 28, 2014

There are a lot of people in my life who wouldn’t dare say or admit what I’m about to say. I even overheard part of an albeit disturbing conversation about it today. After the winter we had earlier this year, I can’t say I blame them. That doesn’t change the fact that they are indeed in denial. Yes, winter around here was much too long, spring barely made an appearance and summer was far too short. But tonight, as I soaked in the cool breeze coming in through the windows of my beloved forever home, it was confirmed. Fall is coming.Backyard Happiness

I could smell burning wood and hear the sounds of the night through the darkness, which is starting to fall much earlier these days. As I watched fireflies dance from one of my favorite spots in the grass of my backyard paradise, I could feel a chill rising up from the ground.

Soon there will be nothing left of summer and the long, warm nights outside will be replaced with bonfires and s’mores. Soon mom will inevitably go through her annual pie-baking phase, where she churns out more cherry and apple pies than any person could (or should) really ever eat. Soon the leaves will turn colors before eventually shedding from the trees.

Soon the leaves will turn colors before eventually shedding from the trees. For some reason, the essence of fall somehow came alive in the essence of those words in my mind. As I watched the branches of the trees sway in the breeze tonight, I was struck with the powerful message that accompanies the fall season. Just as spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, fall is a reminder that life goes on. Sometimes we need a reminder to move past something that has been holding us back. Sometimes we need to turn the page. Sometimes we need to think about finding a way to turn over a new leaf. For me, that is the essence of fall in a nutshell.

It might not be the most popular truth around the state right now, but that doesn’t change the truth. Fall is coming. Fast. And while yes, it brings cooler air and shorter days, it also brings encouragement. It also brings hope. From those bonfires to extra cuddle time to those leaves that need turning, I would agree with Irish songstress Enya that we have a lot to look forward to.

“The spring, summer, is quite a hectic time for people in their lives,” she said, “but then it comes to autumn, and to winter, and you can’t but help think back to the year that was, and then hopefully look forward to the year that is approaching.”


The Value of Happiness August 16, 2014

It happens all the time. And it has definitely intensified since the arrival of my dear puppy brother otherwise known as Carter. From time to time, I am overcome with the most terrifying reality that I am, by all intent and purpose, completely and utterly broke. I have nothing of value to my name other than my collection of collars, and even that isn’t (technically) mine. And in rare moments it bothers me.

Not at all because I need anything. My needs have nothing to do with it. I have all I really need in the love of my forever people. It’s their needs that get to me every now and then. There has been a general tightening of the proverbial purse strings around here lately, especially since Carter was born and mom scaled back her wages in exchange for being a bit more present in his (and by proxy my) life. Things are not dire by any means, but they are certainly not lush either.Backyard Happiness

And it’s tough from time to time. I might be your resident doggie optimist, but I have a very soft spot for a crying forever mom who says she feels like she can’t catch a break.

But almost as frequently as I long to have money enough to buy whatever my people want (let alone need), something happens to remind me it’s not all about that. I’ve said before that money can’t buy happiness. Well, today those words came to life right before my little doggie eyes.

Sure, money is tight. Grocery shopping has been scaled back from pricey markets to the bargain stores. Money has been borrowed from family members. Carter’s clothes are gently used instead of new. But there are moments every day that remind me it’s all more than okay.

Like today, when my beloved people brought home a swing that I think was borrowed from a friend of the family. This little piece of plastic didn’t cost anything at all, but you won’t believe what happened next. Dad hung it from a branch in one of the trees in my backyard paradise and magic happened. He strapped my dear puppy brother in nice and tight and what happened next was music to everyone’s ears. Laughter. From the ground up, I don’t know if there is anything more contagious than a baby’s laughter. It made mom laugh. It made dad laugh. Heck, if I could laugh I would have been giggling right along with them.

It brought into focus this thing about money I’ve always known but needed a reminder of today. Because it happens all the time. I find myself feeling terribly guilty that I can’t contribute more to the bottom line around here. I am, indeed, as broke as they come. But, like most things in life, it’s not really about that. Money is money. It’s not happiness. I’m broke but I’m happy. And I wouldn’t even call what happened today a silver lining because in reality this happiness in its purest form is more priceless than gold.

Want to see Carter’s first swing experience?




Watching the Clouds June 8, 2014

It’s ugly. And scary looking. And (perhaps worst of all) it doesn’t look like it’s getting much better. But today (in a moment of selfish weakness) I realized I am thankful for it. My dear forever dad injured his leg very badly playing softball the other night. When I say bad, I mean bad.

Off We Go

Off We Go

His entire shin is torn brutally torn apart from sliding into third base. The worst part about it? He was out anyway. Nonetheless, it’s there. And I can tell he’s trying to be strong about it, but it hurts.  A lot.

So today my people did something they haven’t done in a very long time. They stayed home for no other reason than to rest. Not because they were sick. And dad will tell you he could have handled doing any number of things regardless of the big red gash that is currently in the process of healing on his leg. But they didn’t. Instead they all stayed home, with me, all day long. Don’t tell them I told you, but they even napped a bit while Carter did at one point.

And I loved it. Not only because (mostly by default) they spent the day with me. Or because they put aside the list of things they could have done. But because sometimes you really do need to pause like they did today to reboot and recharge your batteries.

It’s been tough for me to see them both run themselves ragged keeping up with everything since dear baby Carter came home. There are some days they both pass out the second their heads hit the pillow. Then there are days like today.

“Rest is not idleness,” suggested British statesman John Lubbock, “and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

It wasn’t so ugly. And I’m not ashamed to say I am grateful for dad’s injury. Because today it forced my people to slow down and watch the clouds. No such thing is a waste of time to me.


Remembering The Before February 28, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 10:47 pm
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It seems like a given. Like one of those things that is simply understood. No words required. But sometimes I don’t think that’s enough. For the last year or so, our threesome (dad, mom and I) has been evolving to include baby Carter. First while mom was pregnant, and especially now that he’s here, he comes first.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Nor do I feel jealous of the attention. But I have noticed something – a change in how mom and dad interact with and treat each other. They’ve gone from simply being husband and wife to being parents. And let’s face it – that involves a whole other job description.Family Love

Not to mention how easy it is to get lost in the eat, wake, sleep cycle of a newborn. It’s easy to forget the before. The before when it was just mom and dad and their love for each other (and me, of course). The before when all they had was each other, in sickness and in health, ’til death does them part. All that has changed (for the better now), but that doesn’t negate what they had before.

So I was overjoyed tonight when they went on a date – their first since Carter was born almost two months ago. They left Carter and I in the kind and loving hands of a friend to go to their favorite restaurant for dinner. It was hardly an extravagance, but it didn’t need to be. It reminded them of the before and how much that still means in the now.

It all got me to thinking of how important it is to not get too caught up in routines and life’s diaper changes. How much it means to remember the loved ones who make it all possible. Moreover, the special chosen circles of trust that make life a better place to live. Because it seems like a given. And when there is so much going on around us, it might be simply understood. No words required. But that doesn’t mean actions aren’t necessary every now and then to show we still care. And all things that seem like a given began as just that – a gift.


From Now On February 24, 2014

It’s the same thing every night. Eat, bathe, cuddle, sleep. I don’t know about baby Carter, but its a routine with which I could get pretty comfortable. My role in all of it is pretty minimal. I usually oversee the bathing process and lay patiently on the rug I know is just for me in Carter’s room while mom rocks the baby to sleep. Soothing sounds fill the room and I frequently drift off to dreamland myself, albeit temporarily.

Tonight was different. Tonight I put my paw down. I’ve had enough of this cuddling business not involving me so I quit laying idly by. Instead I hopped myself right onto the tiny portion of lap mom has to spare on the rocking chair and laid myself down. I stopped watching and started living (or, more accurately, cuddling) in that moment. And it was grand. Is it cuddle time yet?

Baby CarterI was quite comfortable drifting into dreamland there in our cuddle bubble. What happened next took me by surprise given the intense feelings of joy I felt just a few moments prior. It was Carter’s 12th birthday (in people years, not dog years) and he was blowing out the candles on the cake. I waited patiently to see myself, pestering my way into the mix to get a lick of frosting as I tend to do. But I never came. I wasn’t there to see Carter turn 12.

The image jolted me right out of dreamland and back to reality. And (for once) I’m so glad it did. Because there I was, cuddling with my forever mom and my little person. Joy. From the ground up, it overwhelmed my little doggie heart in those precious moments together.

Because my dream tonight contained within it a wake up call. There is a chance I will still be around to get that lick of frosting after all. But it’s more likely I won’t.

Eat, bathe, cuddle, sleep. It’s the same thing every night and promises to be that way for the foreseeable future. Some might see it as monotonous, but (as is typical to us canines) I find routines soothing. They bring order to a world that can seem chaotic at times. In those moments, those precious moments, the world is exactly as it should be. I think I will be sneaking my way into cuddle time more often from now on.


The Psychology of Science February 22, 2014

I can’t say I always agree with science. Chemistry is necessary, biology is interesting and physics completely confuses me. Given a choice of high school classes in which to enroll, I can’t say any science would be high on the priority list. Then there’s psychology. While some would argue its philosophical roots negate its scientific clout, I argue science is prevalent in its close examination of all things thoughtful.

Take this study done recently in Current Biology, for example. Scientists have uncovered the truth we canines know is so much more than science. Our brains contain within them sensory receptors for receiving and deciphering emotions in sounds. The study reports this is why we tend to respond to the unique emotional needs of our people in spite of our lack of English-speaking skills.Thinking

While I’m glad this is now scientifically confirmed, this is certainly not news to me. I know how my mind responds to unique emotional situations. I know because it happens all day every day in a dog’s life. Today I responded to love as my forever family cuddled together speaking in hushed tones (as not to wake baby Carter). I didn’t think. I cuddled. I paced nervously as baby Carter cried and cried when he accidentally scratched himself on the nose. I didn’t think. I cared. I sought immediate positive reinforcement when dad tripped and stepped on my paw in the process. I didn’t think. I loved.

“There are moments in life when the heart is so full of emotion that if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret, split on the ground like water, can never be gathered together,” penned American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

That’s the problem with science if you ask me. There’s not always enough room for emotion in things like chemistry or physics. And yet so much pressure is put on the “proof” that so many people need to see the science to believe. Let’s face it. While I am excited that science can now confirm what most dog owners already know, there is more to it than that. It’s more than a stimulus-response reaction. It’s more than a brain scan can show. Because really, it’s love.


Just Say Hello February 20, 2014

It really breaks my heart to say it. It goes against everything my optimistic little doggie heart believes in. But sadly it’s true. Some things really can’t be fixed.

There are some medical conditions that can’t be cured. Cars that get totaled in accidents. And hearts that break beyond repair. Considering each of these, I think its the broken hearts I most desperately long to mend. So you can imagine how my ears perked up today as something other than an animal caught my attention on the television.

Just say hello. It sounds so simple and yet Oprah Winfrey has launched an entire campaign behind these three little words. Because let’s face it. They aren’t nearly as little as they seem. In a world where many of us so frequently replace interpersonal contact with a quick text, email or phone call, the power of human interaction has certainly lost some of its emotional traction.Hello.

That stops now. Because, as O Magazine editor Gayle King puts it, you never know.

“You never know the difference it could make in someone’s life,” she says in the campaign video. “You never know what people are going through, you never know how appreciated it is, and it’s easy to do.” She’s right. So many people are more lonely than they admit to anyone. And therein lies the fundamental problem.

I may not be able to actually say hello, but I know I can at the very least share joy with whomever will take it. That will be my contribution. That, and spreading the word about this fabulous cause. Because I believe in the power of words almost as much as I believe in the power of people to make a difference in each other’s lives.

As much as it pains me to say it, there are so many things in this world that are broken beyond repair. The human heart doesn’t have to be one of these things. Loneliness doesn’t have to be one of these things. It might not seem like much, but in a world where every little bit counts no step is too small toward saving a heart.


So Many Choices February 19, 2014

It’s pretty obvious to me. Every morning I get the same thing for breakfast. Every night I get the same thing for dinner. And I’m not going to lie – it’s pretty tasty. Certainly not as delicious as the my favorite dog treats and raw hide bones. And maybe not quite as delectable as the occasional nibble of bacon, salami or peanut butter. But it’s definitely tasty.

So you can imagine my confusion at the frequency at which my forever people debate what to have to eat. In or out? Fancy or simple? Healthy or naughty? It’s all gibberish to me. And don’t get me started on what happens next when mom can’t decide what to wear. Though it is helped (a bit) by the previous questions, it’s never easy. Then there’s the shoes. And the jewelry. So many choices. So Many Choices

Indecisiveness has a hold on us around the Schmidt house and it drives me crazy sometimes. It’s more powerful than it sounds to be sure. It might not seem like a big deal, but (like anything) it always is a bigger deal than it seems. Not to mention the times when it stirs itself into a disagreement. All over something so silly as which pair of shoes looks better with a certain set of pants, which make up an outfit that may or may not be too dressy for the dinner destination of choice. It’s exhausting.

And I’m not even the one stressing out about these things. I’m just observing. I can’t imagine what it would be like to get caught up in the business of making decisions. From the ground up, I would much rather save all that emotional energy and apply it toward something useful. Like figuring out a way to translate dog thoughts into people words so I could tell my people to make a decision already. And so I could be there to support them when it ends up being the wrong one.

Because it seems pretty obvious to me. Certainly it’s not always as simple as what to eat for dinner. But when there are so many choices, sometimes the most obvious one starts at the beginning. It starts with the choice to decide.