Shooting the Dog

Once upon a time, a trapper lived in a cabin in the forest, far from civilization.  His wife had died, leaving him with his small son to raise.  When food supplies ran low, he usually waited until his son was asleep for his afternoon nap, and leaving his trusty dog to guard the cabin and the boy, he would quickly go out to gather what he could from his traps or to do a little hunting.

One day, when he left, he did not properly latch the door, and a wolf was able to get inside.  The dog and wolf had a terrible fight, but the wolf was finally killed and the boy was unhurt.  When the trapper returned, he found the door open, furniture overturned, and blood everywhere.  Seeing the dog, the man assumed the worst, thinking the animal had attacked his son.  So he quickly raised his rifle and shot the dog.  Only afterward did he find the boy safe and sound, and the dead wolf lying on the floor.

Sometimes we walk into a situation, make a hasty judgment and “shoot the dog.”  I can remember one day working hard all morning at my place of business.  I came home for lunch and found my children sitting in front of the television, laughing at the show they were watching, and in my mind, being lazy bums.  I reach down to yank the plug, yelled at my kids for their laziness, and yelled at my spouse for letting them do it.  They quickly ran to get busy on whatever chore they could find.  Only later, after looking around, did I notice that the bathrooms were clean, the rugs had been vacuumed, the dishes were done, the weeds were pulled, the beds were made, and the laundry was all washed, folded, and put away.  The whole family had been working hard all morning, and had just stopped to have lunch themselves and relax and enjoy a movie together. I was guilty of “shooting the dog.”

Let us remember to take the time to stop, look, and listen, checking our facts before we make a judgment call.  After all, once we “shoot the dog,” we can never bring him back. 

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