A nervous and excited boy stood outside Mr Nibb’s pet shop. He was here to buy a puppy. His mother was in the grocery store next door and had said he could go ahead and choose his pet. He had always wanted a best friend.
The shop doorbell jingled as he stepped inside and smelt wet fur. He looked around until he saw four puppies sprawling about in a large basket. They looked warm and cute, priced at £50 each. He noticed there was also a puppy alone in a corner.
“Is that puppy from the same litter? Is it on sale? Why is it sitting alone?” The questions came all at once from the boy who peered curiously at the little brown puppy.
“Aye, it is from the same litter, but it’s deformed and therefore not for sale,” said the shop owner.
“What’s wrong with it?” said the boy.
“Little thing was born without a hip socket and has a leg missing. Nobody will buy it now.”
“What will you do with it?” the boy asked.
“It will have to be put to sleep,” the man said. He gave a little sigh not knowing what to say next. He had meant to do something about the puppy but hadn’t the heart to make the telephone calls yet.
The boy asked if he could play with the puppy. Seeing no harm in this, the shopkeeper agreed. As soon as he lifted the animal up, the boy started laughing as the puppy licked him all over his ear and neck.
“I would like to buy this puppy please,” he said in a firm and happy voice.
“You can’t do that. I told you already, it is not for sale!”
But the boy insisted, until the shopkeeper gave in. The man stood behind the counter with his arms on his hips, shaking his head in surprise.
The boy stuck his hands in his pockets and pulled out a grubby £5 note that he pressed out as best he could.
“I’ll go get the rest from mum,” he shouted as he started for the front door.
“Hey, wait a minute, why would you pay full price for this puppy when you could get a perfect one instead?”
The boy turned back. Without a word, he lifted his left trouser leg – he was wearing a brace.
“I understand. Go ahead, take this one,” the shopkeeper said.
Always look to the welfare of all living things, human or animal, for they all have a divine soul and the Lord living in their hearts. In Srimad Bhagavatam (6.10.9) it is said that a person is truly wonderful and exemplary if they feel empathy and unhappiness at the distress and suffering of another living being and are joyful when they see another person’s happiness.