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Puppies for Sale
A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read 'Puppies for Sale.' Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and, sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owner's sign.
'How much are you going to sell the puppies for?' he asked.
The store owner replied, 'Anywhere from thirty to fifty dollars.'
The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out some change. 'I have two dollars and thirty-seven cents,' he said. 'Can I please look at them?'
The store owner smiled and whistled, and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately, the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, 'What's wrong with that little dog?'
The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn't have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. 'That is the little puppy that I want to buy.'
The store owner said, 'No, you don't want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I'll just give him to you.'
The little boy got upset. He looked straight into the store owner's eyes, pointed his finger, and said, 'I don't want you to just give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I'll pay full price. In fact, I'll give you two dollars and thirty-seven cents now and fifty cents a month until I have him paid for.'
The store owner countered, 'You really don't want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.'
To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, 'Well, I don't run so well myself, and this little puppy will need someone who understands.'
The young boy who had been wearing a steel brace on his left leg for the last four months walked through the front door of his home with a newly purchased puppy in his arms. The dog didn't have a hip socket, and it walked with a serious limp. The boy's selection of a physically challenged puppy intrigued his parents. The boy had been down-and-out, but with his new companion at his side, they sensed a newly revitalized spirit of hope and enthusiasm emerging from his soul.
The next day the young boy and his mom went to see a veterinarian to find out how he could best help his little dog. The doctor explained that if he stretched and massaged his puppy's leg every morning and then walked with him at least one mile per day, the muscles around his missing hip would eventually strengthen, and the puppy would have no pain and less of a limp.
Although the dog whimpered and barked out his discomfort, and the boy winced and hassled with his own leg brace, for the next two months, they religiously kept to their massage and walking rehabilitation regimen. By the third month, they were walking three miles every morning before school, and they were both walking without pain.
One Saturday morning as they returned from their workout, a cat leaped out of the bushes and startled the dog. Ripping the leash from the boy's grip, the dog darted into oncoming traffic. With a speeding truck only seconds away, the boy instinctively ran into the street, dove for his dog, and rolled into the gutter. He was too late. The dog was hit and was bleeding profusely from the mouth. As the boy lay there crying and hugging his dying dog, he noticed that his own leg brace had bent and popped loose. With no time to worry about himself, he sprang to his feet, picked up his dog, cuddled it close to him, and started for home. The dog quietly barked, giving him hope and turning the boy's jog into an all-out sprint.
His mother rushed him and his suffering pup to the pet hospital. As they anxiously waited to see if his dog would survive the surgery, he asked his mother why he could now walk and run.
'You had osteomyelitis, which is a disease of the bone,' she said. 'It weakened and crippled your leg, which caused you to limp in severe pain. Your brace was for support. It wasn't necessarily a permanent condition if you were willing to fight through the pain and hours of therapy. You responded well to the medication, but you always resisted our encouragement for physical therapy, and your father and I didn't know what to do. The doctors told us you were about to lose your leg. But then you brought home your special puppy. It was amazing how you looked at each other day after day and seemed to understand each other's needs. Ironically, as you were helping him, you were actually helping yourself to strengthen and grow. You obviously no longer need the support of a brace, and today you discovered it.'
Just then the operating room door slowly opened. Out walked the veterinarian with a smile on his face. 'Your dog is going to make it,' he said.
The boy learned that when you lose yourself, you find yourself. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Always Look on the Bright Side
A father promised his son that if he practiced, all day he'd play baseball with him after work. The father arrived home, and they went into the backyard.
'Show me what you can do,' the father said. The little boy shuffled his feet, threw the ball up in the air, took a swing, and missed. 'Strike one,' said the dad.
The son repositioned his feet, threw the ball up again, took a second swing, and missed again. His father said, 'Strike two.'
More determined than ever, the kid dug in deeper, threw the ball higher, and took a third mighty swing. He missed again, spun completely around, and fell on the ground. His father said, 'Strike three, you're out. What do you think about that?'
The youngster stood up, brushed himself off, and said, 'Man, am I a good pitcher!'
©2012. Dan Clark. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Soul Food. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442