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one to tug the heart strings

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by gesic, Aug 11, 2009.


  1. gesic

    gesic PetForums VIP

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    A friend forwarded this story and a warning to have the kleenex handy!
    I havent been able to read it till now and yes tears fell:eek:
    See how many can read this without any tears!

    A tale for a Dogperson

    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.

    For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls
    - he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth)
    got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes.

    I guess I didn't really think he'd need all his old stuff,
    that I'd get him new things once he settled in. but it
    became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn't going to.

    I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew,
    ones like "sit" and "stay" and "come" and "heel," and he'd
    follow them - when he felt like it.

    He never really seemed to listen when I called his name
    - sure, he'd look in my direction after the fourth of fifth time
    I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever.

    When I'd ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then
    grudgingly obey.

    This just wasn't going to work.

    He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes.
    I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell.

    The friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for the two weeks
    to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cell
    phone amid all of my unpacked stuff.

    I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room,
    but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the "damn dog probably
    hid it on me."

    Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter's number,
    I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter.

    I tossed the pad in Reggie's direction and he snuffed it and
    wagged, some of the most enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing
    him home.

    But then I called, "Hey, Reggie, you like that?
    Come here and I'll give you a treat."

    Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction
    - maybe "glared" is more accurate
    - and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down.
    With his back to me.

    Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought.
    And I punched the shelter phone number.

    But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope.
    I had completely forgotten about that, too.

    "Okay, Reggie," I said out loud,
    "let's see if your previous owner has any advice."....

    To Whoever 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.
    If you're reading this, it means I just got back from my
    last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the
    shelter.

    He knew something was different.
    I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them
    by the back door before a trip, but this time...
    it's like he knew something was wrong.

    And something is wrong...
    which is why I have to go to try to make it right.

    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 hordes 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 it,
    so be careful - really don't do it by any roads.

    I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.

    Next, commands.

    Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them
    again: Reggie knows the obvious ones - "sit," "stay," "come,"
    "heel."

    He knows hand signals: "back" to turn around and go back
    when you put your hand straight up; and "over" if you put
    your hand out right or left.

    "Shake" for shaking water off, and "paw" for a high-five.
    He does "down" when he feels like lying down
    - I bet you could work on that with him some more.

    He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone" and "treat"
    like nobody's business.

    I trained Reggie with small food treats.
    Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog.

    Feeding schedule:
    twice a day, once about seven in the morning,
    and again at six in the evening.
    Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.

    He's up on his shots.

    Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours;
    they'll make sure to send you reminders for when he's due.

    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.

    I've never been married, so 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.

    Which means that this transition is going to be hard,
    with him going to live with someone new.

    And that's why I need to share one more bit of info with you....
    His name's not Reggie.

    I don't know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off
    at the shelter, I told them his name was 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.

    For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over
    to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I'd never see
    him again.

    And if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up
    this letter, it means everything's fine.

    But if someone else is reading it, well... well it means that
    his new owner should know his real name.

    It'll help you bond with him.

    Who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change in his
    demeanor if he's been giving you problems.

    His real name is Tank. Because that is what I drive.

    Again, if you're reading this and you're from the area,
    maybe my name has been on the news.

    I told the shelter that they couldn't make "Reggie"
    available for adoption until they received word from
    my company commander.

    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 the shelter... in the "event"...
    to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption.

    Luckily, my colonel 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.

    Well, this letter is getting to downright depressing,
    even though, frankly, I'm just writing it for my dog.

    I couldn't imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids
    and family. but still, 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
    and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he
    loved me.

    That unconditional love from a dog is what I took with me
    to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect
    innocent people from those who would do terrible things...
    and to keep those terrible people from coming over here.

    If I had to give up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have
    done so. He was 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.
    I don't think I'll say another good-bye to Tank, though.

    I cried too much the first time.
    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 had 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.

    "Come '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 in the next room.

    And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.
    ________________________________

    __._,_.___
     
  2. TabbyRoad

    TabbyRoad Banned

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    :cryin:

    :cryin:
     
  3. dobermummy

    dobermummy Banned

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    wow, that is really touching. I read it to my oh and even he was a bit choked up by it.
     
  4. BALOO J.

    BALOO J. Guest

    I fell down today & busted two knee's & a hand (I was brave & didn't cry). But OMG I am flowing with tear's. What a beautiful story, don't our fur buddies just tear out our heart's. How brave was he!!!!
     
  5. FREE SPIRIT

    FREE SPIRIT PetForums VIP

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    wow that's one sad story but with a happy ending. Had me in tears. :( :)
     
  6. thedogsmother

    thedogsmother PetForums VIP

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    Stupid hay fever, now my eyes are really watery (honest):crying:
     
  7. Spaniel mad

    Spaniel mad PetForums VIP

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    OMG

    Im in tears
     
  8. kerrybramble

    kerrybramble PetForums VIP

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    darn i forgot the tissues *sniff*
     
  9. Beagle Mafia

    Beagle Mafia Guest

    :cryin: oh thats so sad but a lovely ending
     
  10. cassie01

    cassie01 PetForums VIP

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    awww, thats really lovely, now i have to go and wash my face as OH will be back soon and my masara is everywhere!!!
     
  11. gesic

    gesic PetForums VIP

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    I believe u....not:001_tt2:
    Ruined the hard non emotional rep i had when i was reduced to tears after reading it:blush2:
     
  12. Hb-mini

    Hb-mini PetForums VIP

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    Gosh thats sad...... so sad....:crying::crying:
     
  13. suzy93074

    suzy93074 PetForums VIP

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    What a lovely story and yes I have tears in my eyes:eek: very heartwarming and sad at the sametime xx
     
  14. Nicky09

    Nicky09 PetForums VIP

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    Lovely story *wipes tears away*
     
  15. Badger's Mum

    Badger's Mum PetForums VIP

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    I can't do it but can someone make shaw Barney and boardie see this please:eek:
     
  16. Miss.PuddyCat

    Miss.PuddyCat PetForums VIP

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    :crying: begining

    now :cryin:
     
  17. Lindy Lou

    Lindy Lou PetForums Junior

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    How very, very sad. :cryin:
     
  18. GSDlover4ever

    GSDlover4ever PetForums VIP

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    awwww i like stories like that!
     
  19. Malamute lover

    Malamute lover PetForums Newbie

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    Had me in tears. Xx
     
  20. srhdufe

    srhdufe PetForums VIP

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    Thats so sad..
    I cant imagine ever giving up my dog... :crying::cryin::cryin:
     
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