In one of the Chicken soup for the soul books, (101 stories to open the heart and rekindle the spirit), the writer, Don Clark, includes a story from his book, Weathering the storm.

The story begins with the owner of a store putting a sign over his door which read: “Puppies for sale”. He realized that such a sign would attract young children, and after a short time, a young boy showed up and asked, “How much are you going to sell your puppies for?”

The owner said, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.”

The boy realized that was more than he could afford; but he counted the change he had, which was $2.37, and said, “Can I please look at them?”

As Clark writes, “The store owner smiled and whistled, and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store, followed by five teeny, 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 owner told the boy that a veterinarian had examined the puppy in question, and found out that he did not have a hip socket - that it would never walk or run normally. With that the boy became excited, and said that he wanted to buy the disabled puppy.

The owner’s response was, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll give him to you.”

Surprisingly, the boy became upset. As Clark writes, “He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to 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 $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have paid for him.”

The store owner still wasn’t convinced. He tried to persuade the boy against buying the dog, saying, “He’s never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like other puppies.”

Then the boy bent down and pulled up his pant leg “...to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace.” Then he looked at the owner and said, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!”

Well, the story ends that way, but is is obvious that the store owner finally understood why the boy wanted the dog so badly. What is interesting is that the author of the story, as I read on his website, had been an award winning athlete whose football career had ended because of a serious injury; but he went on to a successful career as a writer and speaker much in demand.

Sometimes when we have setbacks in our own lives, we fail to recognize that other people have had, or are going through, difficulties in their own lives. Certainly we have been made aware of this by what happened to the people of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

May we be more perceptive of the setbacks that happen in the lives of others!

Harvie Barker is a local resident and writer of inspirational messages. This column appears every other Monday in The Herald.

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