Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

On Being a Firecracker July 4, 2014

It’s pretty special. It’s one of those things you save for a rainy day to remember the sunshine even. And it’s all mine. Well, to be fair, its my forever parent’s. Nonetheless, I’ve found it hasn’t changed with time. Dear baby Carter is six months old now and he still does the same thing he always did when he was overwhelmed with happiness. He smiles and turns away into whomever is fortunate enough to be holding him at the time.

As he’s gotten older, the excitement has spread to his little chubby legs, which usually kick like crazy while he is overwhelmed with joy. It’s one of those things that makes me so very happy to see that I honestly am overcome with joy myself. And it happened today. A lot.

Today is one of those days that I know for certain Carter wasn’t the only one overcome with joy to observe. Today is a day filled with parades and fireworks and love and joy and celebration. Today was independence day.

Sadly (for me) I wasn’t invited to some of the joy-inducing fun, such as the parade my people attended. But I got my fair share of joy out of the day when they came home and we all spent time outside in my backyard paradise while they recalled the events. It really was the kind of time filled with moments you know you will never get back.

Mom and dad took Carter swimming in our neighbor’s pool, which made mom happier than anyone else. Then dad grilled, mom baked, and I napped in the sun while Carter napped in his crib. It really was one of those magical days mom hoped it would be. Which, to be honest, was a relief for me. I know my dear forever mom better than the average outsider and I know how important today was to her. I know she wanted everything to go perfectly for Carter’s first fourth of July.

Because it is pretty special. A day when people are so overcome with joy they can’t even contain themselves. Just like when dear baby Carter kicks his crazy little legs with uncontrollable enthusiasm. So it all makes me scratch my head sometimes why mom would worry so much about things being perfect. At least from what I can tell there is no need for worry. All is well in our world. Now all we need to do is realize it.

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The Day Forever Changed September 1, 2013

My birth mother never cared much for cars. Or people for that matter. Put the two together into a moving vehicle? She usually kept her distance. Except for that day. The day that changed my life forever. The day we all got separated.

It started like any other day in my early puppyhood. We woke to mom going hunting for food, so my brothers and I wrestled until she returned. We feasted on a gourmet selection of leftovers she scavenged from behind a nearby diner. Discarded toast crusts were my favorite since my brothers usually stolGaining Perspectivee the ham and sausage scraps before I could get to them.

After breakfast, we would journey outside our cardboard shelter. I know mom’s intention was to keep an eye out for someplace better for us to move to even though I quite fancied our cozy hideaway. She always wanted the best for us though, and I will never forget that.

I don’t know what go into her that day, but she seemed edgy. Skiddish. Scattered. Her usual fear of cars and people was thrown to the wind as we paraded through the streets. My brothers and I followed (somewhat) blindly, trusting she knew what she was doing.

That’s when it happened. There we were in the middle of the road when not just one but two cars were coming at us full speed ahead. From both directions. My heart raced almost as fast as I did away from the imminent danger. I assume my mom and brothers did the same, though I will never know for sure. I ran as fast as my puppy legs would take me until I made it back to the cardboard box we called home. I waited there, knowing certainly that’s where we would all meet up. I waited a day. Every moment that ticked by felt like hours. I waited a week. Nothing.

I was devastated. The events of the day haunted my every thought as I wondered how I could somehow relive those moments. How I could make it right. I should have looked back, I thought. I should have waited for my brothers. I should have stopped running sooner so I could have seen where they went. All of these should haves, could haves, would haves still occasionally pop into my mind.

But how would life be different had I done “right” that day? Would I still be with my mom and brothers somewhere? Perhaps. But then I would never have met Tiger and his puppies. I wouldn’t have gotten to protect Jo from the man with the leather belt. I wouldn’t have learned optimism as a way of life from Rusty at the Oshkosh Humane Society. I wouldn’t have found my forever home.

All of this makes me wonder whether there really is a “right” way in life. Moreover, I wonder whether what we sometimes think is right actually is what’s best for us on our path. I may be an optimist, but I can’t say whether there really is a way to get life right. I know my mom’s way involved keeping her distance from cars and people. But that isn’t the right way for everyone. It certainly isn’t for me.

The day I was separated from my birth family was one I will always remember. That day I learned a very important life lesson that forever can change in a moment. Sometimes you can make it right. Sometimes you can’t. The thing is we also don’t always understand what’s best for us in these moments. We can’t always see the big picture through the cloudy lenses of now. But that’s why they say hindsight is 20/20. In reality there is nothing I would change about that day because it led me to where I am today. And I wouldn’t change that for all of the dog treats in the world.


On Being Happy: Real Life Reverence February 26, 2013

My mom came across something kind of special today. It is one of those priceless treasures that might seem worthless to the wrong person. I know this because she was devastated about a month ago when she couldn’t find it. So you can imagine her excitement when she found it at work today. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t pretty excited myself, since it probably wouldn’t be priceless if not for its value to both of us.

Animal ID: 10451105
Species: Dog
Breed: Terrier Mix
Age: 2 years 3 months
Sex: Male
Size: Small
Color: Tan
Intake date: 7/31/2010

Hi, my name is Wiley! I am a terrier mix and like all terrier breeds, I have a ton of energy! I am a sweet boy that is interested in everything! I am really good at sit but would love to learn more with your help! I am one smart boy! I am very cute and I know I look lie a little lap dog, but I have a ton of energy so I like to move around a lot! I would love to take long walks and explore everything with you by my side! I have been approved to live with kids 10 years and up! I think I might possibly be great at agility. I cannot wait to find a home that needs an energetic, but sweet, dog like me. Are you the one?!

My old adoption profile from the humane society is dated August 25, 2010. Documentation in itself of one of my most happiest of days, this precious and fragile piece of paper was printed on the day I met them for the first time. My forever mom and dad. And reverent is the word for how I feel about my emotional reflection upon this authentically archeological dig, as Sarah Ban Breathnach would call it.

“Reverence is that altered state of consciousness when you feel awe and wonder because you know you are in the presence of Spirit,” Breathnach writes in Simple Abundance. “Real life—the real life we are meant to be living—begins when we restore a sense of reverence to our daily affairs.”

Today is a day for my mom and I to be reverent in remembrance of the power that happens when we make the conscious choice to turn our personal fears to purpose in life. Change is indeed a conscious choice that often translates fear into purpose. That conscious choice can bring sincere and irreplaceable happiness. Life happily ever after, if you will.

So today is the day I reflect on when real life began for me. That is just it, after all – you need to welcome that kind of magic and happiness into your life by understanding the roles that past and present play in your future. I know from experience it is easier said than done, but finding a way to bring fear to purpose does just that.


A Day in “Our Town” January 10, 2013

I do a lot of thinking about my future. Where I want to go, who I want to meet, what I want to accomplish.

Among my most exciting destinations are the warm sandy beaches of North Carolina and the rocky river trails in Tennessee. I’d really love to pick the brains of doggie stars like the ones in the Ceasar dog food and Traveler’s life insurance commercials. And I aspire to have my words touch the hearts and minds of canines and people all over the world.

But today I was reminded that could all be taken away from me in the blink of an eye.

“Dogs’ lives are too short,” turn-of-the century American writer Agnes Sligh Turnbull said. “Their only fault, really.”

While I appreciate Turnbull’s sentiment, its a stark reminder that our time on Earth is limited. We should live each day as if it were our last and all that. Most importantly, we are to notice the little things about even the most seemingly unimportant of days and cherish every moment before its gone…a lesson learned from Thorton Wilder‘s character Emily in “Our Town.The Blink of An Eye

After dying in childbirth, Emily longs for even the most mundane parts of what was so boringly familiar to her in life. She has an epiphany when she finds joy in the moments she used to take for granted. I’ve always found the story a bit depressing, like a snapshot of something too painful to think about.

Thinking it over today made me realize its important to occasionally think about the painful things. Its not easy for me, so for inspiration I turn to a singer-songwriter starlet from whom I am not to embarrassed to say I have received a great deal of emotional education – the dearly beloved Bette Midler.

“I always try to balance the light with the heavy,” she said, “a few tears of human spirit in with the sequins and the fringes.” I know I can’t see color, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate sequins and fringes. Tears, on the other hand, I avoid at all costs. It’s Bette’s kind of balance I need.

All of my time spent in the future is keeping me from enjoying parts of the present and almost completely suppressing the past. As it turns out, that’s no way to get to the future after all.