Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Everyone Wins June 24, 2014

It’s pretty silly. It’s one of those things that probably would be classified by most of us four-legged folk as embarrassing. But I don’t really care what people think. I know happiness. I know joy. From the ground up, it happens in these moments. Silly or otherwise.

When it comes to tricks and training, my dear forever mom has always taken the lead. From her, I’ve perfected sit, stay, roll over, play dead, give kisses, and a host of other talents I’ve come to know and love. While I love the treats (especially anything involving bacon or any imitation thereof), the joy I see run across the faces of my people is a treat in itself. Hugs

What dad and I have is different. He’s been the primary initiator of my favorite family game (otherwise known as pickle in the middle), but lately he’s done more than that. He’s been my primary buddy ever since dear baby Carter was born, and though I had my reservations about this at first he has not disappointed. He’s surprised me with a number of new things, such as catch and (my personal favorite) hugs.

Here’s the thing. I know it’s pretty silly, but I’m not too much a (doggie) man to admit I need a hug from time to time. And the best part is, dad always seems to know when those times are. I don’t know how he does it, but that’s no matter. Because when he does, it’s the kind of moment us canines live for. “Wiley, come give me a hug,” he says. And I do. And I’m not lying when I say it brings my heart just as much joy (if not more) than it does him.

I think it’s something frequently forgotten about by people these days. And although I personally believe everyone needs a good hug from time to time, it doesn’t have to happen in hug form. It can be a smile. Or a caring conversation. Or anything really, that involves truly and sincerely caring for another being.

It probably sounds silly, but I don’t care. Neither did a favorite American poet of mine named Shel Silverstein, who once wrote “I will not play tug o’ war, I’d rather play hug o’ war. Where everyone hugs instead of tugs. Where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug. Where everyone kisses, and everyone grins, and everyone cuddles, and everyone wins.”

That is the kind of world I chose to make for myself. Won’t you do the same?

 

Letter From A Friend – Guest Blog December 5, 2013

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:39 pm
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Deep ThinkingI had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started this blog. I just jumped in and started swimming (which is a big accomplishment for a dog). I know I’ve said it before, but I there is one thing in particular I wasn’t expecting when I started blogging all those months ago. The friendships. I had no idea how wonderful it would be to find a new family in this WordPress blogosphere, and yet that is what I’ve developed. Thank you all for being part of that for me.

In celebration of this, I wanted to share a guest blog I received a while back from my dear friend Ku from over at Haiku by Ku. In response to my request for a blog on Ku’s perspective on joy from the ground up: 

 

My dear buddy Wiley,

Having friends like you brings me joy. There are so many things in life that bring me joy, but what really brings me joy from the ground up is life! All the little things, all those little threads of joy that make life life all spring from the same deep root of life itself.
Life is filled with all sorts of things that make us smile, and frown, and laugh, and cry, and sing, and pout. But through the course of my puppyhood in the puppy mill, my rescue and healing journey, and now with my Mama and my new pack I have learned that all those things, all my experiences, both good and bad, are all a part of life. Without pain, there is no pleasure. Without fear, there is no love. Without suffering, there is no compassion. These are two sides of the same coin, the coin of life.
As the poet Kahlil Gilbran said, “The deeper that sorrow carves into my heart, the more joy it can contain.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Though I am sure I would have been a sweet pup, had I not experienced the hunger, horror, and suffering during my first year of life, I do not think my heart would have the same capacity to hold and to allow to take root the eternal joy that is life itself!
Indeed, dear Ku, that is joy from the ground up. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. More importantly, thank you for being one of many of the friends who have become family over the last year.
For more by Ku, please check out his book to help support animal rescue,  as well as the other works of art listed below.
Through the Peacock’s Eyes, Insights for Spiritual Living
 

Just Call Me Blessed September 2, 2013

Swell. Good. Great. Peachy. These are all common responses to what I think is likely the most frequently asked conversational question. How are you? As I am a believer in responding to this question with nothing but sincere honesty, I time to time find myself cooking up creative responses in my mind. Super duper. Splendid. Or (again in support of honesty)  crappy.

Perspective has taught me a lot about the power contained in identifying with such words, or putting labels and names on things. Words are powerful tools to begin with, but names take the conversation to another level.

This struck me today as I found myself feeling particularly happy. It is Labor Day in America, which (for some reason I don’t fully understand) means my people stayed home from that place called work. I’ve never been shy about my love for the weekends, so I suppose it’s not too far a stretch that a three-day weekend is in a land of happiness all its own. Especially since they spent the majority of the day with me at home.

In turn, I enjoyed an unordinary amount of time lounging outside (where I do some of my best thinking). Today as I contemplated these words with which we identify, I searched my memory for something and came up blank. Before I was Wiley (and briefly Zorro), I didn’t have a name. I was just another dog living out my life on the streets. Characters I came across while I was nameless either had given names I picked up or names I assigned them.Peaceful Gratitude

Like Tiger, the lab mix I once misjudged as manipulative and catty because he had a sneaky selfish way about him. It turned out Tiger was sly because he had to be. He was always stealing the best scraps before I could get to them because he was feeding his puppies, not because he was vindictive. But in addition to mystery, tigers are known for their strength and Tiger was one of the strongest dogs I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

His name (the name I assigned him) was true to who he was. And I would say mine is true to who I am as well, though I know another name would not change my identity. So today as I let the breeze sweep over me and took in all the delicious smells of the neighborhood, I developed a new name for myself.

How am I? I’m blessed. Who am I? Just call me blessed. My days are not always perfect, but this simple truth remains. From the moment I wake to the moment my head hits the proverbial hay I am grateful to be alive. I am, indeed, blessed.

 

Adventure Becomes Us July 21, 2013

I knew as soon as we woke up that today would be special. There was a sense of adventure in the air. And, like most emotions, it’s contagious. The funny thing is, I don’t think my forever people were on to me. It was no secret they were excited about something, and as they hustled and bustled around the house I got excited too.

The dreaded suitcase made its way back out, and with it all the supplies for what I recognized as camping. Then mom said the magic word and confirmed my hopes and dreams for the day. Do you want to go camping, Wiley? (Silly mom, always asking me questions she already knows the answer to.) So I watched excitedly as mom and dad packed the car to the brim and off we went.

We drove to a beautiful campsite a few hours away, but as we approached the sense of adventure in the car morphed itself into a sense of impending doom. It was sunny where we came from, but it was dark where we were going. Storm clouds hovered directly over the destination, growing in intensity as we approached. Mom kept a positive attitude, saying over and over that it will be an adventure. Dad didn’t seem convinced.

I whined as I watched them struggle to assemble the tent in the downpour, wishing I could help somehow. It’s okay, mom kept saying to dad, it will be an adventure. Then came defeat. The tent that was to be our safe haven for the next few days contained within it a swimming pool of rain held up by unstable poles in the soggy sand. And down it went.

Something kind of magical happened as we all watched the tent collapse. Right there in the rain, sopping wet and frustrated, mom and dad broke out into the most ruckus laughter I’ve heard from them in a while. It was loud and it kept going and going, as they got more and more drenched. It seemed a little silly to me (I wish they could have enjoyed their laughter with me in the safety and dryness of the car), but it still made my day.

It all reminded me of the words of English novelist George Eliot who challenged that “adventure is not outside a man, it’s within.” That was us today. We were adventure.

When the giggles subsided, they packed up the tent, loaded up the car, and we headed back to the comforts of home. It rained the whole way, but I didn’t mind. I got to spend the entire day with my two favorite people in the whole world. It was among the longest car rides I’ve ever had in a single day. And I could tell they were disappointed, but in my humble opinion it was exactly what my mom wanted. It was an adventure that I’m certain none of us will forget any time soon.

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Far From Home July 16, 2013

I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. It wasn’t so bad. I knew where I was going and where I came from. But none of that matters. I’m in the emotional dog house tonight.

It all started so innocently. I was just doing my usual thing in the backyard when I realized I wasn’t properly attached to my lead. So I did what any dog would do – I went on an adventure. I figure I knew my way around from all of my walks with mom around the neighborhood. I said hello to the neighbor dogs, who were barking enviously from their yards. I stopped by more fire hydrants than usual to mark my territory. I even got all kinds of attention from the children at the neighborhood playground. That was my favorite part.

It was all downhill from there. I heard dad approaching and he didn’t sound happy. In fact, he sounded angry. More angry than I recall ever hearing him sound before. Wiley! Wiley WILEY!!!! He was yelling my name in a way that made me much prefer to stay and be petted more by the nice children. But I figured it would probably make things worse if I further extended my adventure, so I went to him and he took me home.

I estimate I made it a whopping four blocks away on my adventure, which is (by far) the farthest I’ve ever journeyed on my own. And I knew where I was the whole time (there’s a reason us canines were gifted with the amazing sense of smell).

So why was dad so angry? Why was mom crying when I got home? I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. But I also don’t particularly care for dad being angry or mom being sad. In fact, I realized as I watched them breathe what I think was a collective sigh of relief that dad was probably mad because mom was sad. And mom was sad because she doesn’t realize I was just on an adventure around a neighborhood I know like the back of my paw. She thought I was leaving her. Leaving them. Leaving my forever home, my dream home, forever.I'm Sorry Now

Why would I do such a thing? It’s not the first time I’ve seen them overreact, and I know its not the last. But maybe I will keep my adventures closer to home from now on. After all, there is a very important lesson to be learned from all of this. It’s not worth it to put people I love more than anything in the world through the apparent agony. Adventure may come at a price too high sometimes.