Tish had been talking about getting a small dog for years. She wanted one who would fit easily into her lap when she got home from work. A small dog would be easy to walk. She poured over pictures and facts of small dogs and went to work on finding one. She determined that she didn’t need the dog to be any particular breed so she drove down to her local animal shelter.
She could hear the dogs barking as she pulled up the dusty driveway to the shelter door and she began to feel anxious with anticipation. Tish took a deep breath swallowed hard and began her search. The first section of the shelter were small kennels three high with cats. Knowing that she didn’t want a cat, she moved past that section to the second section where the dogs were.
Tish peered into each kennel. Some of the dogs were sitting quietly staring back at her, others were lying down and wouldn’t look her in the eye and still others were barking and moving frantically trying to get her attention. Nearing the last of the dog kennels she hadn’t seen a small dog yet. They were all medium to large dogs and not what she was looking for. Sighing she took a look in the last kennel of the shelter and there stood a porcupine. She laughed out loud at the thought of a porcupine locked in a kennel at the animal shelter.
She walked over to one of the volunteers and asked where they kept the small dogs. The volunteer told her that right now they didn’t have any small dogs but if she kept checking back they were bound to get one as they came in regularly. She was a little disappointed but she was determined to find her little dog.
For a week, she’d drive down to the shelter each day on her lunch break. Each day, new dogs arrived, and each time they did, they were too big. She’d walk the length of the kennels and at the end of the kennel she’d once again see the porcupine.
She began to notice that the porcupine had soft hair but it was intermingled with with sharp quills that lied flat on its back, sides, and tail. She smiled to herself as she thought this porcupine was actually quite cute. Once again she left without her small dog.
The next day, she returned to the shelter and once again there were no small dogs. Feeling a little desperate and tired of searching, she decided to bring home the porcupine. She stopped at the local feed store and discovered that porcupines eat tree bark and leaves and so she went about building a habitat for her porcupine. She tried a few times to pet the porcupine but each time she did a quill would get stuck in her skin and she wasn’t able to get it out without a great amount of pain and help from others.
Still she persevered trying to make this porcupine into the small dog she wanted. She tried to put it on a leash, she tried to put it in her lap and each time she was stuck by a quill. Tish realized too late that she had made a mistake but she had invested so much time and money.
You might think Tish is stupid in her choice and that you would never make that mistake. Only let’s be real we all make that mistake when people tell us who they are and we choose not to believe them and try to mold them into what we want them to be instead of waiting to get the real deal.
How many women do we know that are sitting on the couch across from a porcupine when in their dreams they wanted a lap dog? All because they couldn’t wait for potential to manifest itself.
*Adapted from a quote on the Dr. Laura show.