There once was a little girl who was lonely. She had a big dog that she had had for many years, but her big dog didn't play with her anymore and she desperately wanted a playmate. She didn't know what to do, so she started taking in lost puppies to channel her need to have a playmate. She'd find a puppy, feed it, care for it, get to know it, and play with it. Eventually, she would start to care for the puppy. Sometimes, she even fell in love with the puppy, even though she didn't want to and she knew that it wasn't hers to keep.
But it wasn't long before the puppy would leave; either he'd go back to his original home or he'd run away for some other little girl to find and take care of him. Even though she knew from the beginning he had to go at some point and that he wasn't hers, she'd still be a little sad.
From time to time, the little girl would try to resist her urge to go find another puppy, and she'd try to play with her own big dog, but it just wasn't the same. Big Dog rarely wanted to play, and he'd growl and be mean if she didn't feed him on time each day. It wouldn't be long before she knew what she had to do.
She would go out and find another puppy and start the whole process again. Finding and playing with a new puppy was always fun and exciting. The little girl enjoyed learning about what was special and wonderful about each one. Some pleased her more than she could imagine was possible...for a puppy, of course. Every now and then, once in a great while, she would become very, very close to a favorite and she'd start to care for him and think of him as her own.
One day, one of her favorite puppies went away. The little girl was heartbroken. She cried for hours. She lost interest in looking for other puppies and felt lost. It was devastating.
She told her friend about what happened, and he sat her down and reminded her that it wasn't her puppy to begin with, and that no matter how much she cared for the puppy or the puppy cared for her, he was still someone else's puppy.
The little girl had to make a decision - either stop finding puppies altogether and find a way to be content with Big Dog, or find a way to play with puppies without giving her heart away. Neither option looked very good to her, but the only other choice was to stay open to heartache. What do you think the little girl chose to do?
Moral of the story: Never forget that he's not your puppy.