I’d like to share an interesting story about a dog and a chain.

When my wife and I began dating in the seventies, her family’s pet was a dog named Fluffy. Fluffy was an outside dog for the most part. She was a mixed breed who looked like a combination of Lassie and Petey from the old Little Rascals series.

Fluffy had a big dog house in the middle of the yard. There was a metal stake in the ground next to the dog house. Attached to the metal stake was a very long leash chain. The other end of the chain was attached to the dog’s collar.  My wife’s parents had a decent size yard. The dog’s area had become pretty well worn. It was a semi-circular area about fifty feet out in front of the dog house. At the furthest point It looked like a well-traveled circular dirt path.  Every day my father-in-law would hook the dog to the chain. The dog would have the freedom to go the full fifty feet in any direction. She was happy, well cared for and knew her boundaries. She spent her time playing, living, and barking within that same familiar area.
 
One day an interesting thing happened. We were outside enjoying a nice day. The dog was attached to her chain. She was running back and forth in that same well-worn area. Everything looked the same as any other day except for one thing; the other end of the chain wasn’t attached to anything. Somehow the chain got disconnected from the metal stake.
 
The dog was suddenly free to run through the entire yard without any limitations. There was nothing holding her back, yet she still stayed within her chained boundaries. As a matter of fact, from that day forward, the dog no longer required the chain to be attached to the metal stake. All we had to do to keep the dog within her boundaries was to simply attach a chain to her collar. She had the whole yard to run and play in, yet she didn’t stray past that well-worn path. She was conditioned to stay within her comfort zone.
 
Aren’t people a lot like that dog to a certain extent? We have this great big yard of a world to travel, explore and conquer. Yet every morning, many of us get up, we metaphorically hook the leash up to our collars and we travel that same well-worn path back and forth. It’s our comfort zone.  Question: If our life were a novel, would it be complete? I believe that there are more chapters in the book of our lives IF we choose to write them. There are no limits. We are all free to travel beyond our own self-imposed boundaries.
 
 “It is never too late to be who you might have been.” – George Elliot
 
Yours in Rotary,
Tony Parziale
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