Wiley to the Rescue

Trauma and Recovery: Wiley the Dog Edition.

“Wiley, like other dogs saved from the worst conditions, was able to transform almost entirely. With love, patience, and proper medical treatment, he got a second chance at life. In this way, dogs like Wiley aren’t so different from us.” —After 9/11

Not many of us can claim to be both timeless and ageless, but I can. We don’t know when I was born, and I have no real concept of time.

I know I’m a male Chihuahua Mix and a rescue. I know that I will not walk in booties. I do not do well with any form of transportation. I know I will model my mom’s knitting for treats. I am positive that my objective in life is to interfere when my parents start kissing and put a stop to it before it gets out of hand.

I also know that rescue dogs and rescued humans are very similar. Mommy and I understand each other in a special way because we both had it pretty rough during our early, formative years, and we are both very resilient. I wish I could explain my history to mommy so she could understand why I am the way I am. But after a very rough start in life, a group of very good people rallied around me and said, “Hey, your little life matters to us” and saved me. Then I went to a bunch of different homes looking for furever love, and then I found one, and we had to go through three different specialists.

Mommy was in the same place when she was a teenager. She had a hard time finding out where she belonged, and she was often scared by her environment and lashed out when she needed love, and couldn’t find the right kind of therapy no matter how hard she tried (until she eventually did). She wanted to connect with others, but had a hard time interacting socially and becoming defensive very quickly. Nobody really understood why.


We both have experience with the fight or flight response, which is common with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, although mine happens on a leash. I feel anxiety that causes me to feel the need to protect mommy and me and exert control, and my adrenaline response is automatic and has taken a while to unlearn, but I have my great days, my good days, and my days when I just have to yell “Hey, get off my lawn!”

Like mommy, I just kept going on my journey to try and have a happier life. after I was rescued by Friends with Four Paws in Oklahoma, and then it was a lot of moving around from there. Let’s skip that part, because I am just happy to be in the moment I’m in now, right here, getting my butt smell on some expensive throw pillows. I am extremely mindful. Wait—was that a sound in the hallway? Excuse me while I lose my shit.

Sorry, I’m back. Anyway, wrapping up, mommy and daddy came to get me without even meeting me first. I was a special case and I was being “returned” and mommy said “Ok, let’s go get him.” I was nervous in the car ride, and left a little (big) present outside the building as soon as I got out, but within an hour, I knew I had finally found my furever hoomans.

My best quality? I have an ability to love and learn trust despite everything I’ve been through. So has mommy. That’s why I’m a mama’s boy and make a great shadow. Mommy is dissapointed that I can’t go to the dog park or play very nicely with other dogs, but she doesn’t force me to. We all have our flaws and our strengths, and she doesn’t try to make me something I’m not. She respects my outdoor boundaries (inside, we don’t have any). She loves me for who I am and would never ever give me up for the world. The love I give her is worth the incidents that happen when I need my anal glands squeezed. She has plenty of pants.

Like other dogs saved from the worst conditions, I was able to transform almost entirely. I got a second chance at life. In this way, I’m not so different from you guys. To other dogs out there still waiting, don’t give up hope, and get yourself a family like mine if you can. They give me first dibs on bed space at night, let me sit at the dining room table sometimes, and spend hours fussing over me like I’m an infant, even though we’ve been together for almost four years and I’m, like, at least 30 or 40 years old in dog years. If you’re a dog still waiting to be adopted, hang in there. Lots of good people are out there waiting to give you a good life.

You can learn more about mommy’s journey in After 9/11, One Girl’s Journey Through Darkness to a New Beginning.

For more amazing dog stuff, check out my philanthropic online store, Wiley to the Rescue. I donate 50% of all proceeds to dog related charities and nonprofits.