A story from a few days ago. My cousin and her family had come over for the holidays and my snow white Maltese had just given birth to beautiful puppies and my nieces were very happy to welcome them into our family. But our parents said that they would not allow any more dogs in our home and with a heavy heart, we decided to give them away.
As we had bought our Maltese at a pet store, I only felt it fair to sell the puppies instead of giving them away for free. Also, I felt that this way I can ensure that the puppies go to a place where they'll be valued, where they would be cared for. So I started making arrangements for the sale.
I painted a nice sign board advertising my puppies and my kid-niece tried painting one of them onto it. I was nailing the board to a post in my garden when I felt a slight tug at my pants. I thought perhaps one of the puppies had managed to wiggle past the crack in their kennel door and turned to pick it up and take it back inside. Only to find a small boy with big eyes and a pleading smile looking up at me.
"Uncle," he said, "I want to have one of your puppies. (a longish) Please!!"
"Well bachu," I told him, "I am sorry but I am not giving away the puppies for free. If you want a puppy, you'll have to buy one!"
This took away a part of the smile. He dug into his pockets, apparently searching for corners hitherto unexplored, expecting some cash to appear there miraculously. After a good couple of minutes of scouring, he extracted some coins and held them out to me, "I have 7 rupees with me right now. Is that good enough?"
Although I personally would have preferred receiving a much bigger multiple of that amount, I did not want to break his little heart so I agreed. His smile returned, a small curve of his lips at first, then blossoming into a huge grin when I called out my dog and her puppies so that the boy could select his pet. He let out a squeal of joy when the four little fur-balls scampered up to him and started playing at his feet. His eyes danced with delight and it seemed he was having a tough time making up his mind on selecting one of them.
Just then, a fifth fur-ball appeared at the door of the kennel, and peeped out with its little bright eyes. It gave a shrill yelp and hobbled down to where its other brothers and sisters were playing. It was smaller than the others and had a slight limp due to which it couldn't walk well. Still it did the best it could and tried catching up with the rest.
"I want that one!" said the little boy pointing to the new entrant.
"But my dear, it is not like the other puppies," I told him. "Beautiful and cute it is no doubt, but he may not grow up to become a strong dog that can run and play with you like the others here," I said pointing to the other four who were now busy with some game of their own.
The boy ran to the small pup to pick it up. It was then that I noticed that he had a deformed left leg, and wasn't able to walk properly. Limping back to me snuggling the pup in his hands, he said, "As you can see uncle, I cannot run very well either. And when my friend here grows up, I'll be there for him so that he knows that it's not bad to be different from others. And at times when I feel bad about myself, he'll be there to teach me the same lesson. Thank you!" saying this he handed me the seven rupees and began limping away.
As I watched the twosome walk away happily, I couldn't help imagining just how many of us are searching for someone like ourselves, someone who can understand and accept us the way we are.