Do You Truly Understand Empathy? Take a Walk in Their Shoes…Try to See it from Their Perspective.

If you don’t, you will in a few minutes.

This story begins with a little boy in search of his first puppy. 

At the beginning of the story, we see him pulling his mom hurriedly by the hand, rushing through the front door of the neighborhood pet store, and running her right back to the far corner, where all of the puppies were kept.

Upon getting to the “puppy section,” the boy immediately sees 4 dogs playing and rough housing together, and just having a blast.  The sign above the boy’s head read $500 each.  He watched these dogs for a long time, his eyes locked in amazement.  He was so excited, and so enjoying this moment.  It was beautiful for his mom to see this too, as she knew just how important this day was to him.  His mom did wonder though, how he would ever pick the “right one.”

Suddenly, something caught the boy’s eye.  Way off in the back corner of the cage was a dog who looked the same as all of the others, and seemed the same as all of the others…But it was just kind of leaning in the corner of the cage, not participating in any of the fun.  Kind of off in his own little world.  

The boy asked the clerk, “Why is that one sitting way off in the corner, all by himself?  Is he for sale too?”  The clerk answered, “He is back there because he is deformed.  See, he was born without one of his legs.  Therefore, is not for sale.”

When the boy asked what would happen to the dog since they were not selling it, he was told that since the dog was not “normal,” that he would be put to sleep at the vet’s office in a few days.

With that, the boy asked, “Can I please see that dog?”  The clerk was hesitant, but agreed, and got the puppy out of the cage for the boy.  The dog was just as excited as the boy was when he saw the puppies for the very first time.  He was wagging his tail, breathing hard, and howling…And then…The puppy licked the boy’s face, from the chin all the way up to the forehead.  The boy immediately said, “I want this one!”  The clerk reminded him that the dog was not for sale, but the boy insisted and shoved $200 into the clerk’s hand.  This was his own money that he had been saving up for this big day.  The clerk, seeing how happy the boy was, and the mom’s nod of approval was fine with $200 since the dog was “deformed and not normal.”

To the clerk’s surprise, as the boy was lost in the wonderment of his new puppy, the mom walked over and gave him the other $300 to make it the same amount as all of the others.  The clerk said, “But mam…This is too much for that dog,” but before he ever finished his statement, she was off to the races to catch her son who had started moving for the door.  The clerk then raced after them.

Once outside, the clerk yelled to both of them, “Why would you guys want to pay full price for a dog that is not normal…A dog that is missing a leg?”  With that, the mom smiled, looked at her son who was holding the puppy ever so tight, and nodded to him. He smiled at the clerk, and lifted up his pant leg to reveal a prosthetic leg from the hip down.

Empathy hit the clerk right square in the face, and he knelt down and sobbed.

Now do you get it?

-Corey Twigg

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