paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)paw prints.gif (1703 bytes)

"But I Want Them All, Daddy ... !"


"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Because of a powerful lesson my Dad taught me at a tender age, that expression has been my theme song throughout life.

It was 1973. As a six-year-old girl growing up with a menagerie of animals on a small farm, I found myself emotionally attached to anything on four legs. My dog Cindy (named after my beloved pet who met a tragic death by accidental vehicular homicide just months earlier) had just given birth to her first litter of puppies. Naturally, my little heart was enamoured by these wonderful creatures. During those initial months, we played and played together. However, there were just too many of them, and my Dad informed me that we would have to give them new homes. "But Daddy, look how cute they are! Can’t we please keep them, please?"

"Deb, honey, they will eat too much – it will be expensive to feed them all." Fulfilling my role as The Comeback Queen even at this young age, I retorted with "But their mommy feeds them, we won’t have to!" He melted when he saw the despair in those pleading big brown eyes. "OK, you can keep one of the puppies." After a careful selection process, I chose the absolute cutest one and dubbed him Snoopy. Ah, life was still pretty good. That is, until Snoopy and his mother committed the ultimate crime.

While our family was away on vacation, Cindy and her pup wreaked havoc on the farm and terrorized the prized Canadian Geese who shared their homestead. When our neighbors came to take care of the animals one day, they saw the horror -- the two canines had murdered one of the geese in cold blood. When my Dad learned of this incident, he kindly explained that I would have to choose to keep either Cindy or Snoopy since they could no longer be trusted to stay out of trouble. The mere thought of this broke my wee heart. Oh, there had to be some other way! How could I possibly make such a decision?

"I can’t choose, Daddy. I want to keep both doggies. They belong together because they’re a mommy and a son." Surely this logic of Plato would sway him. Not so. Again he explained why we could not keep both dogs, and over and over I protested. I should have heeded the famed Portuguese words of warning of which he reminded me: "Quem tudo quer, sem nada fica," which translates to "He who wants everything ends up with nothing." Unfortunately, that became a self-fulfilled prophecy for this headstrong little girl ... he gave BOTH dogs away.

I never forgot this mighty lesson. It taught me many things. First of all, stubbornly bucking authority is never a good idea. Secondly, when you have something in your hand, so to speak, don’t get greedy and try to obtain more. You may just end up holding nothing like the greedy game show contestants who lose everything they accumulate because they covet the jackpot. Thirdly, realize that most people are smarter than you are, so listen to their suggestions and warnings. Had I listened to my Dad in the first place and let him give away all the puppies, not only would I have been spared this agony, but also there would not have been the senseless loss of the prized goose’s life.

I genuinely respect my Dad for being man enough to teach me such valuable lessons. They have truly safeguarded me on the road of life. He didn’t want to get rid of Cindy or Snoopy – he told me he loved those little guys. He just wanted me to appreciate that life will be stacked with choices and that you’re setting yourself up for misery if you expect to have everything. In the back of his mind he was thinking "She might end up with two boyfriends someday and think she can just keep them both!" Later I came to understand that sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good – and this daughter admires that determined man who has never compromised his principles. The principles he has stood by have shaped me into the person I am today.

Thanks, Dad, for your wisdom and guidance. They mean more to me than all the puppies in the world.


© Copyright August 6, 1998 to present, by Deborah McGeorge, St. Augustine, Florida

compositions-more.gif (6480 bytes)