Friday, April 24, 2009

The meaning behind the 'Starfish' title.

As was bound to happen, there have been several times when I come home from the shelter in tears. I want desperately to save all the dogs there, but know that I can't. It can be hard to concentrate on the good, when faced with so much of the bad.

Several years ago I had read the Starfish story. I was reminded of it when I started working with these dogs. It fits perfectly with what I do, and what any rescue group does. I repeat this story to myself over and over. It helps me through the rough times.

The Starfish Story
adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!"


  1. That's a great little story, and so true!

  2. Sometimes I forget. Thank you, Cat.