Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Too Much of a Good Thing February 15, 2015

I’ve got nothing against cats. Or their curiosity. Yet I’ve heard once or twice this thing people say about how curiosity killed the cat. I know it’s just a philosophical anecdote, and therefore falls into a category of phrases I don’t particularly trust.

I also know we canines have our own level of curiosity that can get us into trouble sometimes. In my case, I usually find myself getting into mischief when I blindly follow my nose to places like garbage cans and freshly folded laundry. Those stories never end well for me. Mom and I

Lately, I’ve noticed a similar pattern among some of my dearest loved ones. Except that instead of following their noses, they’ve been following their fingers on a keyboard that leads to nothing but heartbreak and fear. They have brilliant doctors who they trust and yet they are turning to the internet for answers to some of life’s challenging health questions. And I don’t need to understand anything medical to know that is not the right place to turn.

Research, like many good things, can be taken too far. In this case, it is being taken to places where my dear forever mom is put on bed rest and can’t take care of dear baby Carter or the new little person, who may be born too early. Or (gulp) maybe not be born at all if things end badly.

These are all the absolute worst case places that my dear mom has (admittedly somewhat irrationally) allowed the internet to take her mind. And her heavy heart for that matter. All because of a little (albeit serious) complication that’s arisen in her pregnancy with our new little person. A little complication that could just as easily resolve itself in the next few weeks.

I wish I could take the computer away. Because it’s nothing against cats or their curiosity. In her case it’s true. Curiosity can kill the cat. It’s all too easy to head to the worst case place in your head with the help of too much of that good thing called research. Though moderation is never an easy thing for a dog, I can give it the respect it deserves. Now if only I could figure out a way to get mom to do the same.

 

Silly Little Games December 1, 2014

I feel like I should be a little hurt. Something has been happening pretty frequently around here lately, and I can’t say I particularly appreciate the implications. Mostly because it is complete and utter nonsense. I would never in a million years purposely hurt my dear little Carter. Yet I am fairly convinced my beloved forever people think I would.

There’s this game we play together that makes mom and dad uncharacteristically anxious about Carter’s physical proximity to me. I think it’s funny. Carter thinks it’s funny. My people? Not so much.Best Buddies

It all started when Carter began assimilating what toys are mine and what toys are his. He’s even taken to handing (or sometimes throwing) me toys he knows are mine. We have developed an unspoken truce between us to respect each other’s things. In general, I stay away from all of his noisy, lighted button-y things and he stays away from Mrs. Prickles. In general.

That is, with the exception of our game. He will give me a toy, I will play with it, I make playful noises as he tries to get it back, and he laughs. It’s all totally harmless. Except that I guess my noises sound intimidating to my people, which inevitably brings our fun to a sudden and dramatic halt.

Truth be told, I love that I have found another way to make Carter giggle. His laughter makes my people happy, which in turn brings me the sincerest kind of joy. And in my own little way, I feel like this game allows us to “talk” to each other. But my people don’t like it and today I stopped to contemplate why.

Mostly I feel like I should be a little hurt. Because I’m a believer in the words of Scottish poet George MacDonald, who once said “to be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” And, in most ways, I know without a doubt the trust they have in their hearts for me.

So I tried to put myself in their shoes. To see where they’re coming from. And, as much as I trust them with all of my heart, I realized exactly why they feel the way they do. Because that’s how I feel about them. If anything, or anyone, made a sound (or action) like I do when Carter and I are playing our game, I would probably attack them. I love my people too much to ask questions. That’s how they feel for Carter.

I suppose I could let myself feel hurt over this. Instead, I feel blessed. Because just as I know they feel that way about Carter, I believe they feel that way about me. Between that, and knowing I never would dream of hurting anyone in my forever family, I’d say I’m in pretty good shape.

 

To Be Rescued October 15, 2014

There are moments in life when you just don’t want to hear it. Moments when you would much rather stew in your misery or frustration or grief about whatever challenges you face. The dreaded words “everything happens for a reason” are the absolute last thing you want to hear. They offer you no peace in that moment. No rest. And they certainly don’t make the original problem go away. They are a line of garbage.

Except that they’re absolutely and completely 100 percent true. In spite of a few emotional battles, I’ve always known it. And, as I have followed a story of a two-legged friend of mine during the past week, I know it in my bones. Her name is Emily, and she is my hero.

A patriot for rescue dogs, she in the last several days has personally taken on the emotionally tasking job of reeling in two stray dogs near her neighborhood in Dallas, Texas. It hasn’t been easy, for Emily or the dogs, who she has since named Dallas and Cricket.

She has worked diligently to earn their trust, leaving out food and water for them for several days and keeping her distance until they were ready. She unsuccessfully attempted to enlist help from neighbors. Sadly, she learned that the area where she found the dogs was a common dumping ground for strays. She was heartbroken to learn of this, not only for the dogs, but for the people who have become completely desensitized to the problem.

Beyond all of this, she cared. She cared enough to put her life (and the immediate needs of her beloved dog, Lupy) on hold. She cared enough to be patient. She cared enough to make a difference. Why? She had two touching reasons I believe are better shared in her words.

I believe God doesn’t give up on people, no matter how much they push away, or have doubts or are scared and my overwhelming sense of love toward this dog I don’t even know must be miniscule in comparison to the love God feels for his creation. The words ‘whatever you do unto the least of these’ and I don’t care if some people argue that that was only meant about people, I don’t think it was, I think God wants us to care for his creation dearly. So even when I start losing hope when she runs away from me, or when I’m not able to slip the leash over her head, I just keep thinking of those two things and how even if I can do good in my small corner of the world, it’s never futile even if the result isn’t the miraculous one I’m hoping for.

Everything happens for a reason. From the ground up, I’m guessing Dallas and Cricket didn’t want to hear it. For whatever reason, they had both lost all hope in people. For all we know, they had both lost all hope in life itself.

But now, thanks to the passionate persistence of one person, Dallas is set to be adopted. There is more work to be done for Cricket, who really likes cheese and peanut butter but still needs to work on her trust issues. The point is Emily hasn’t given up. And because of that, Dallas and Cricket will have forever homes. They will know what it’s like to be rescued. They will know what it’s like to feel the love of a person. Take it from me, there is no greater thing.

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A Dog’s Tail Never Lies December 19, 2013

I know they can’t always be avoided. But I sure wish there was a safe way around them. From freshly cleaned floors to ice patches on the road, I simply do not care for all things slippery.

This came to mind tonight as I found myself skating across the patio portion of my backyard paradise. I wanted to come inside quickly because I heard my treat jar open when bam! My paws slipped and slid underneath me. And, for that (albeit brief) moment, I was completely out of control. I lost my balance. That’s when I knew for sure this icy stuff is certainly not my friend. It’s slippery. I don’t care for slippery.

Don't Slip!The same can be said of people, I suppose. Us canines are known for our accurate judgment of the character of those around us. We are natural born observers, which I think aids us in our assessments over time. I’ve only made one grave mistake in not trusting my best doggie friend from the streets Tiger. I felt pretty silly about getting that first impression wrong when I learned the reason he was so protective of his food was because he was a single dad caring for his pups.

I learned my lesson and haven’t made the same mistake twice. I knew right away I could trust Jo, and that her caretaker (if you can call him that) otherwise known as the man with the leather belt was bad news. His face came to mind tonight as I was slipping all over the place. I don’t like slippery people any more than I like slippery surface. And he was such a bad person. He made me feel completely out of control. He took away my balance. But he could not take away who I am.

Because who I am is pretty great. I know that now. And you can believe me when I say so since a dog’s tail never lies. Above anything else we are honest. We are who we are. I know this with the same certainty I know there are unfortunately plenty of slippery people out there. And there isn’t always a way around them. But life has taught me sometimes the best defense against a slippery slope is a good offense. And when it comes to fighting evil, mine wins every time.

 

I Chose Life July 2, 2013

What we know in our hearts we believe with our minds. It might sound simple, but this canine way of thought can also be incredibly complex. It’s also true regardless of what side of the doggie door we live on. If we’re on our own we are responsible for everything, in stark contrast to life in a forever home where the majority of decisions are made for us. Down to what we eat and when we eat it, we rely on our people to make the majority of life’s decisions for us.

But there is one thing we control regardless of whether we wear a collar with our names on it. We control how we feel about things. And I have to admit I didn’t always like the way I felt about people. Though I would argue puppies are born into this world with an innate connection to people, I learned not to trust them within the first few days of my life. My birth mom didn’t seem to trust them, so neither would I. I didn’t know the rationale behind her behavior, but it didn’t matter. It was decided. I too wouldn’t trust people. After I was separated from my mom, my belief remained intact for the most part. That is until various characters came in and out of my life that began to alter my perception. Maybe I was right all along, I remember thinking, we should trust people. My instincts were right! Yay Life!

It wasn’t long after that I met Jo and the man with the leather belt. Also known as the man with the baseball bat. And the man with the power drill. I didn’t make many decisions when I lived with them, except for the one I could control. I will never ever trust people again. What my heart knew was confirmed in my mind that day when the man left me on the side of the road. I remember Jo crying in the backseat, and I cringed thinking of her punishment when she got home and I wasn’t there to protect her anymore. The reality of that thought made me lose any shred of respect I still had for people.

It was a defining moment in my life. And the more I thought about my unconditional love for Jo, the more I realized I couldn’t give up all hope in people. I was faced with a decision, a fork in the road, and instead of doubt I chose hope. It made me too sad to think about a life without hope and trust and that unconditional love for a person. My purpose in life was not to be a scared little dog with no one to love.

That awful man may have scarred me emotionally, but he would not define the rest of my life. I knew in my heart that day I could trust people again, so I believed it. Complex as the journey was, it was actually surprisingly simple. Regardless of whether we wear a collar with our name on it, that is what we canines control. We control how we feel about things and no level of domestication can take that away from us.

I hate to think of what would have happened had I decided to stick to my decision not to trust people. I certainly wouldn’t have let that nice lady pick me up and take me to the Oshkosh Humane Society. Once I got there, I wouldn’t have tried my hardest to seem adorable and adoptable. I could have been that bitter dog who stays at the shelter until…well, they aren’t at the shelter anymore.

Instead I chose life. And it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Related Posts:

Hands: Heads or Tails? – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/02/24/hands-heads-or-tails/

Man’s Best Friend – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/06/16/mans-best-friend/

 

Love Many: My Personal VIP List March 9, 2013

There is this quote I’ve seen in my forever home that I’ve always wondered about. It reads “love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.” It is sewed onto a little pillow in one of the bedrooms and written onto a teeny homemade canoe on the bookcase in the living room. I can’t say I was a believer in its theory until I learned its history.

It was something my adoptive mom’s grandpa (my great-grandpa) used to say. He went to heaven a long time before I would have had the opportunity to meet him, but I have to say he sounds like a pretty stand-up guy. My adoptive dad never met him either, so we have in common that we wish we could have met him before it was too late. Instead we have his stories and theories to hold onto, including (but not limited to) his quote about the canoe.Paddling Life's Canoe

I will admit: I do love my fair share of people. Good, bad, or ugly people are pretty important in a dog’s life regardless of the role they play. People have the power to pretty much control a dog’s environment at all times to reflect whatever they desire. Unfortunately, what they desire isn’t always a happy place in a dog’s life. I myself have had my fair share of negative experiences with people choices that impact a dog’s life. But as I am making it my goal to find good and happiness in all people and things, I will focus my attention on the very important people in my life:

1) Momma Schmidt – I love you more than words can say. You know that. If home is where the heart is, you are home to me.

2) Dad Schmidt – I’ve heard you say more than once that you will never admit to loving “a dog,” but your actions speak otherwise. I know you love me without you ever having to say so, which (in my opinion) is perhaps even more affective and meaningful than if you said it all the time.

3) Grandma and Auntie Finke – My momma’s momma and sister. How I love you both simply for who you are.

4) Grandma and Grandpa Schmidt – You buy special treats and toys for me when you know I’m coming over. What more could I ask for?

5) Little Schmidts – You are the little people in my lives, from whom I gain more wisdom than anyone else. Thank you.

6) Schmidt family friends – You know who you are. If you have ever left the Schmidt house with my fur all over you, consider yourself loved.

7) My blogosphere – Especially, Amba, Seeker, Hope, Leisa, Rachel, Misifusa, Putney, Cheyne and Popper’s momTrompie’s mom , Trev’s mom and all else. You are some of my most favorite people who continue to inspire me on a daily basis. I am grateful for you all.

Love ManyAs a former stray who was adopted into the wrong families before I found my forever home, I understand the “trust few” portion of the quote more than I would like to admit. Yesterday my own adoptive dad (who I love and trust) took his belt off and I cowered like I always do. It doesn’t mean I don’t trust him, but my instinct for leather belts is negative and that stays with me forever. Especially after being beaten and abandoned, experience has reinforced the importance of earning trust. My doggie circle of trust is known only to me.

That said, I can say with honesty that I would prefer to never paddle my own canoe. Like my perspective on joy, my time on boats has taught me these are moments best enjoyed when shared with loved ones in spite of how plentiful that list may be.

People are pretty important in a dog’s life. Good, bad and ugly, it doesn’t matter. And so it is. I love many, trust few, and choose to paddle my joy canoe with the help of whomever wants to join me. Fortunately for me those negative days are in my past now, and I have nothing but very important positive people to celebrate.