Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

One of A Kind February 16, 2015

I wonder sometimes what it would be like. The lights and the cameras and the judges and the people. And the dogs. So many beautiful dogs. Tonight people across the country are tuning in to watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, a world-renowned competition I would say would be like the doggie equivalent to the Superbowl.

There’s only one catch. To participate, you need to be a purebred dog, who likely comes from a family of dogs bred specifically for a the life of a show dog. Generation after generation, these dogs literally have competition in their blood. Think with the Heart

Throughout my life, I have personally had mixed feelings about purebred show dogs. I give them all kinds of credit for what they do, but I can’t help but feel a bit slighted for something as simple as not being purebred. I’m far from it. I know my mom was a Norwich terrier, but I never knew my dad. For all I know he was a mixed breed of some kind too. And that’s okay.

On most days, I embrace all things that make me unique. I am one of a kind and I like that about myself. I used to question how unique a purebred dog could really be, given their extensive breeding and training and grooming. Then I heard the story of CC, a local Papillon competing tonight in the big gig. CC

Weighing in at slightly less than eight pounds, CC may be small, but his heart is big. And it turns out his motivation to do well at the big competition is even bigger. It was a dream of his breeder to have him compete at Westminster, so it is in her honor that CC took the stage tonight after she passed away a few months ago from ALS.

A friend to whoever he meets, he’s a stranger to no one. Learning that we have that, and a deeply embedded love and appreciation for where we come from, in common changed something in my heart. It made me stop wondering what it would be like to be in all the lights and see all the cameras and the people. Instead, I want to cheer on my soul brother, CC, as he competes for a cause. Because while we all are indeed one of a kind, we are united in spirit.

To read more about CC: http://www.germantownnow.com/news/purpose-driven-dog-to-travel-from-germantown-to-compete-in-westminster-dog-show-b99433858z1-290535401.html



The People That Make It Real January 31, 2015

A birthday. A baby. Job news. And a whole lot of seafood.

A day like today always starts the same way around my forever home. There is a sense of wonder and merriment that resonates with my forever mom and dad especially as preparations ensue for whatever might be to come. Music plays. The table is set. And don’t get me started on the food smells. So many deliciously mouth-watering food smells.

The best part was I don’t even think everyone realized it until it was happening. It was just going to be an informal coming together for lunch. But that turned into something else pretty quick. Celebration. From the ground up, it brings joy to life in an entirely unique way.


Though I’ve gathered he would (for some reason I don’t understand) prefer not to acknowledge it, dad’s birthday is in a few days. It will never make sense to me why little ones like Carter spend all year looking forward to their birthday and then it switches when adulthood hits. But I digress.

Obviously, news from earlier this week that little person no. 2 is developing well and there is nothing to be concerned about is something to embrace with all our hearts.

And dear aunt Morgan will soon be returning to (a slightly upgraded version of) work after her medical leave for her successful carpal tunnel surgeries last month.

In these things, I felt the words of a favorite American author of mine come to life.

“Let’s choose today to quench our thirst for the ‘good life’ we think others lead by acknowledging the good that already exists in our lives,” suggested Sarah Ban Breathnach. “We can then offer the universe the gift of our grateful hearts.”

Sure, I was (more than) grateful for the scraps of table food my dear Grandma snuck to me. That made for quite a delectable treat combined with the usual purposeful droppings from dear baby Carter. But there was a sense of life in the room only the joy of celebration can bring.

A baby. A birthday. Job news. And a whole lot of seafood. Today I am grateful not just for these things, but for the people in my life that make them real. They are who make mine the good life.


Wiley Schmidt: A Fortunate Accident? January 25, 2013

Tomorrow is such a powerful word. It is a promise of a fresh start on a new day. It is another chance to get caught up with that to-do list or start that project you always wanted to start when you could never find the time. It is a chance to make a difference in the lives of others, or finally put that dream to action. But ultimately, tomorrow is the devil’s playground for procrastination. What if there is no tomorrow?

Hillary Cooper once said “life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” I’ve been fortunate to have my fair share of breathtaking moments. The day I met my forever mom and dad, the day they took me home, and the day I realized how much they loved me all come to mind.

So today I embrace life by contemplating death. It might sound morbid, but I see the value in contemplating how one will be remembered when they are no longer among the living. How would I want to be remembered? The ancient Greeks asked one thing after a man died: did he have passion?

The Eulogy of Wiley Schmidt: A Fortunate Accident?

Wiley (Coyote) Schmidt was a pretty special dog. He was dearly loved by his adoptive mom and dad, as well as extended family and friends too plentiful to list. For this, he considered himself the luckiest dog in the world.

It wasn’t always that way for him. Separated from his birth mother too young, Wiley struggled to find acceptance and love from various foster homes. He lived on the streets, fought for food and shelter, and knew life without a loving home. He was resilient amidst life’s hurdles, and slowly learned to embrace the challenges as they became part of what made him unique.

His positive outlook on life started paying him dividends at the age of two, when his parents adopted him from the humane society. Life was a series of fortunate accidents for him after that.

After two years in his forever home, he started a little blog he hoped could touch some lives. Another year later, the scope of his aspiration to share his joy with the world spread beyond his wildest dreams. His mom helped him piece together a year of blog entries into his groundbreaking book. It was called Joy: From the Ground Up, and it became an instant hit with dog lovers all over the world.

He always dreamed big, but his dreams were never selfish. The ancient Greeks asked one thing after a man died: did he have passion? Wiley had passion for the greatest gift of all: life. He was the embodiment of joy, and shared it with whomever would accept it.

People say hindsight is 20/20. Wiley didn’t believe in that. Wiley said if we live life as it is supposed to be lived, there shouldn’t be hindsight. We should be looking forward. Our dreams should always be more exciting than our memories. He would want us all to remember that.

Rest in peace, Wiley. You (and your forever joy) will be missed.