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For Veterans and Pet Lovers

This is a discussion on For Veterans and Pet Lovers within the Military & Veterans forums, part of the Main Category category; If you love dogs and have or had one, this is worth every minute of you time. Even if you ...

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    Debray is offline Chuck White
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    Default For Veterans and Pet Lovers

    If you love dogs and have or had one, this is worth every minute of you
    time. Even if you don't like dogs as pets, please read.

    They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie, as I looked at him
    lying in his pen. The shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really
    friendly.

    I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the
    small college town, people were welcoming and open. Everyone waves when
    you pass them on the street.

    But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new
    life here, and I thought a dog couldn't hurt. Give me someone to talk
    to. And I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local news. The
    shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said
    the people who had come down to see him just didn't look like "Lab
    people," whatever that meant. They must've thought I did.

    But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie
    and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of
    which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes and a sealed letter from
    his previous owner.

    See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off when we got home. We
    struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give
    him to adjust to his new home). Maybe it was the fact that I was trying
    to adjust, too. Maybe we were too much alike.

    I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten about that. "Okay,
    Reggie," I said out loud, "let's see if your previous owner has any
    advice."
    ____________ _________ _________ _________

    To Whomever Gets My Dog:

    Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told
    the shelter could only be opened by Reggie's new owner. I'm not even
    happy writing it. He knew something was different.

    So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond
    with him and he with you.

    First, he loves tennis balls. The more the merrier. Sometimes I think
    he's part squirrel, the way he hoards them. He usually always has two in
    his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn't done it yet.
    Doesn't matter where you throw them, he'll bound after them, so be
    careful. Don't do it by any roads.

    Next, commands. Reggie knows the obvious ones ---"sit," "stay," "come,"
    "heel."

    He knows hand signals, too: He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone" and
    "treat" like nobody's business.

    Feeding schedule: twice a day, regular store-bought stuff; the shelter
    has the brand.

    He's up on his shots. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet. Good luck
    getting him in the car. I don't know how he knows when it's time to go
    to the vet, but he knows.

    Finally, give him some time. It's only been Reggie and me for his whole
    life. He's gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily
    car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn't bark
    or complain. He just loves to be around people, and me most especially.

    And that's why I need to share one more bit of info with you...His
    name's not Reggie. He's a smart dog, he'll get used to it and will
    respond to it, of that I have no doubt. But I just couldn't bear to give
    them his real name. But if someone is reading this ... well it means
    that his new owner should know his real name. His real name is "Tank."
    Because, that is what I drive.

    I told the shelter that they couldn't make "Reggie" available for
    adoption until they received word from my company commander. You see, my
    parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've left Tank with
    ... and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to
    Iraq, that they make one phone call to the shelter ... in the "event"
    ... to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption. Luckily, my CO
    is a dog-guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he'd
    do it personally. And if you're reading this, then he made good on his
    word.

    Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the
    Army has been my family. And now I hope and pray that you make him part
    of your family, too, and that he will adjust and come to love you the
    same way he loved me.

    If I have to give up Tank to keep those terrible people from coming to
    the US I am glad to have done so. He is my example of service and of
    love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.

    All right, that's enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this
    letter off at the shelter. Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he
    finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

    Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss
    goodnight - every night - from me.

    Thank you,

    Paul Mallory

    ____________ _________ _________ _______


    I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope. Sure, I had
    heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like
    me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning
    the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags have
    been at half-mast all summer.

    I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring
    at the dog.

    "Hey, Tank," I said quietly.

    The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.

    "C'mere boy."

    He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor.
    He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn't
    heard in months. "Tank," I whispered.

    His tail swished.

    I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears
    lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of
    contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his
    shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.

    "It's me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me." Tank
    reached up and licked my cheek.

    "So whatdaya say we play some ball?" His ears perked again.

    "Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?"

    Tank tore from my hands and disappeared into the next room. And when he
    came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.

    If you can read this without getting a lump in your throat or a tear in
    your eye, you just ain't right.

    A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable
    to 'The United States of America' for an amount of 'up to and including
    their life.'

    That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no
    longer understand it.

    "The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him,
    but because he loves what is behind him."

    G. K. Chesterton
    “Every step we take towards making the State our Caretaker of our lives, by that much we move toward making the State our Master.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

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    Seen it before but definately a great story.

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    Wow - get the tissues!
    We've had shelter dogs for many years & loved them all!

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    The_Outlaw is offline ~The Dude Abides~
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    Great & sad story. I did get teary eyed.
    Fascist's are Magicians...They can make our Property, our Freedom's & even our Children 'Disappear'.
    ~Outlaw~

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    "To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society" - Theodore Roosevelt

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    Coopdog is offline CoopDog
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    wow, thanks cowbilly for just ruining the moment for everyone with a heart for animals and a respect for those serving in the military. I bet youtold your kids there was no santa claus or easter bunny, tooth fairy etc, because it was on snopes. jackwagon.
    G.L. Cooper
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coopdog View Post
    wow, thanks cowbilly for just ruining the moment for everyone with a heart for animals and a respect for those serving in the military. I bet youtold your kids there was no santa claus or easter bunny, tooth fairy etc, because it was on snopes. jackwagon.
    Coopdog, I happen to be a veteran that has a heart for animals and I did tell my kids there was no santa claus, easter bunny or tooth fairy not because it was on snopes but because it was the truth. Sorry I ruined it for you!
    "To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society" - Theodore Roosevelt

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    A rich man's companion, a poor mans friend, the only creature faithful til the end.

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    True or Not - it is a good touching story of service to others and our country - I enjoyed the read!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gcburt View Post
    True or Not - it is a good touching story of service to others and our country - I enjoyed the read!
    I agree and I'm not shamed to say... As a dog person, I did get a lump in my throat!
    I am now just ONE STEP shy of the dark side, although i do visit it frequently!

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