When the runt of the litter is the most prized

I had this short story sent to me as part of National Friendship Week 2014. It touched my heart and made me a bit teary. It is a story of generosity and caring. But thinking a bit deeper it is about so much more…..have a read and then ponder on the questions below the story.

The story….

A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.


“Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

“Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, “These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”*

The boy dropped his head for moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.

“I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”

“Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called.  Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.

Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up…

“I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the runt. The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

With that, the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so, he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.

Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”

With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup. Holding it carefully, he handed it to the little boy.

How much?” asked the little boy.. “No charge,” answered the farmer,

“There’s no charge for love.” 

The world is full of people who need someone who understands.

End of story, I told you it was short.this-is-not-the-end

So what else is this story about?


As a leader of people in your working life, or a leader in your own life, ponder on these questions.

  • How often do you make assumptions about what other people need or want?
  • What ‘lens’ are you making those assumptions through?  (e.g. this runt of the litter is of no use/interest)
  • What are the values that you see are being expressed in this story?
  • How often do you consciously and deliberately step into your teams or your friends/family’s shoes and try to view the world from their perspective?
  • Do you notice the kindnesses and compassion within others? Do you practice it yourself? Do you acknowledge it?
  • How aware are you and your team members of others who need understanding?
  • What other lessons or thoughts did you have as you read this story?

I would love to hear, please leave a comment.

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