Owner Was About To Return Shelter Dog, Until He Read This Note

There is no doubt that dogs are among the friendliest creatures in the world, and adopting one can definitely lift anyone’s spirits. However, when this young man moved into town and adopted a stray dog to keep him company, things didn’t go exactly as planned. Training the pooch was way more challenging than what he ever expected, but just when he was about to return him to the shelter, he found a heartbreaking note from his previous owner. What did the note say? Did the man change his mind? Read the story and find out!

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#22. A New Life

After finishing high school, Anthony moved to a small college town upstate to continue his studies. He was quite nervous at first, as he had left all his friends and family behind. He was about to start a life of his own and didn’t know what to expect.

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Luckily, the people at his building and neighborhood were super friendly and welcoming and really made him feel at home. Each time he would walk down the road to do the groceries, people in the streets would say “hello” no matter the time of day. Things like that didn’t happen every day back in his hometown! However, in spite of all of this, he still felt a bit lonely.

#21. A New Pal

Anthony knew that he would make friends as soon as classes began, but so far he knew nobody and besides, he was single. He was in desperate need of company and that’s the reason why he decided to get himself a little pooch.

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He had always been an animal lover, and that’s why he headed towards the nearest shelter, where he adopted a beautiful medium-sized black Labrador, whom he named Reggie. Take a look at his picture! Could he be any cuter?

#20. His Lucky Day

It turns out that several other people had considered adopting this beautiful pooch, but the volunteers at the shelter had decided neither of them was good enough. So Anthony really felt like the luckiest man on earth!

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But the good news didn’t stop there! Anthony was also told that Reggie’s previous owner had dropped her in the shelter together with a dog bed, a few toys, a food bowl, and a mysterious letter that remained unopen. Therefore, he was allowed to take all these objects with him.

#19. Trip Back Home

Since this was Anthony’s first pet ever, he felt extremely anxious. He couldn’t help but worry, because Reggie wouldn’t stop shaking during the trip back home! The only thing that kept him calm was a worn tennis ball which he playfully sank his teeth into.

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Anthony kept his fingers crossed, hoping that the pooch would calm down and settle in once they arrived home. What if the shaking didn’t stop? What if he just missed the guys from the shelter? He knew he was thinking way too much, but he just couldn’t help it!

#18. The First Day Is The Hardest

People always say that when you adopt a shelter dog, the first day is always the hardest, and Anthony realized this couldn’t have been truer. When they arrived home, he literally had to drag the dog out of the car and carry him through the door, as he was too scared to move.

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As Anthony arranged Reggie’s bed, the pooch hid in a corner of the living room, his whole body shaking. He figured his fright would pass as the hours went by… but what if it didn’t? He wondered if he should give the shelter a call and ask for advice.

#17. A Grieving Pooch

The first night went by, but when Anthony woke up the following day, he realized that the dog was just as shaky as the day before. He called the shelter and asked whether he had suffered some sort of trauma, but sadly they didn’t know.

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Anthony expressed his feelings those first days on one of his interviews:

I was expecting a super happy dog, one who would be exc0ited to see me and who would want to play and cuddle more. I found it hard to adjust to the new town as well as a new dog. I was still lonely and it seemed like Reggie wasn’t happy either“, he said.

#16. What Was Wrong?

As the days passed by, things just got worse. It was obvious that Reggie didn’t feel comfortable in his new home and for some reason he was far from happy. He wouldn’t even respond to the simplest commands, such as sitting or staying.

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In fact, Reggie wouldn’t even respond to his name. Anthony gave him food, water, walks, and lots of attention, but he wondered whether he was doing something wrong. After all, he had never had a pet before. But what could the problem be, he wondered?

#15. The Most Difficult Decision

Nearly three weeks passed and nothing had changed, so Anthony realized something had to be done. “I was a little strict with him, and he disliked it, I could tell“, he said in an interview.

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After thinking it through, Anthony decided it was time to take him back to the shelter. Sadly, he had to come to terms with the fact that Reggie wasn’t happy in his new home. He remembered he had written the shelter’s phone number on a piece of paper and that he had left it inside a box together with some of Reggie’s toys. But the story was about to take an unexpected turn…

#14. The Mysterious Envelope

As he searched through Reggie’s stuff in search of the shelter’s number, Anthony noticed there was a strange envelope hiding beneath one of his pooch’s toys. The volunteers at the shelter had actually mentioned that Reggie’s previous owners had left that envelope, but Anthony had forgotten all about it!

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Reggie got all excited as Anthony looked through his stuff, and the man realized it was the first time that the pooch showed so much emotion. Reggie kept staring at his owner just as he grabbed the envelope, almost as if he were pleading for him to tear it open. Can you guess what was hidden inside?

#13. Unlocking The Past

Anthony tore the envelope open and after a few minutes, he got the nerve to read the letter. It said the following:

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”, the person wrote.

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The man also confessed that while he drove Reggie to the shelter, the pooch realized that something was wrong:

He knew something was different. I have packed up his bed and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time, it’s like he could sense that something was wrong“, he wrote.

#12. Getting To Know Reggie

After such a heart-breaking introduction, the former owner went on to describe Reggie and he certainly spoke highly of him. “First, he loves tennis balls, and he loves to hoard them. He usually always had two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there“, he wrote.

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The man also said that Reggie was well-trained and that he often responded to basic commands such as “paw” for a high-five or “shake” for shaking off the water. Anthony was certainly surprised as he read this, as it almost felt like he was talking about a completely different dog!.

#11. A Heartwrenching Confession

Then, the previous owner warned that Reggie hated going to the vet, but then again, which dog doesn’t? “Good luck getting him in the car – I don’t know exactly how he knows when it’s time for him to go to the vet, but he can somehow sense it“, the man wrote. But right after that, he made a touching confession.

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The man pleaded for Reggie’s future owner to give him lots of care and attention.

Finally, be patient with him. I have never been married, so it’s only been me in his whole life. He loves to be around people, especially me. Which means this transition is going to be hard with him going to live with someone new“, he continued.

#10. His True Identity

Anthony was truly heartbroken. Now he knew the reason why Reggie had been so depressed and he felt he knew the pooch better after reading this letter. But do you know what else he found out? Reggie’s name was not Reggie!

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The former owner confessed the following:

I don’t know what made me do it exactly, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I just told them his name was Reggie. He’s a clever dog; he’ll get used to it and will respond eventually. But I couldn’t bear to give them his real name”.

#9. The Shocking Truth

Now, it all made sense to Anthony. No wonder his new pooch failed to respond to the name “Reggie”! However, Anthony was shocked to find out what his real name was.

I need to share one more thing with you. His real name is Tank because that’s what I drive“, the former owner said.

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The man confessed that he worked for the US Army and that his commander had notified at short notice he would be deployed to Iraq. Sadly, he had nobody to leave the dog with, and that’s why he was left with no choice but to send him to a shelter.

#8. A Tough Decision

Anthony was in shock, as he never would have imagined that being deployed to Iraq had been the reason the owner had had to give up Tank. Furthermore, Anthony realized the owner must have been in a lot of pain when writing the letter. He did not doubt that dropping Tank at the shelter had been one of the most difficult decisions in his life.

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But the letter didn’t end there! Anthony realized that the letter became more tragic with each sentence, but the ending was the most moving part of all. Can you guess what it said?

#7. A Touching Ending

The owner wrapped up the letter with some deeply emotional words. “Well, this letter is getting depressing, even though, I am just writing it for my dog. But dogs can be like family and he has been with me for the past six years”, he said. Someone hand me the tissues, please!

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Then came the final words. “All the best of luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight- every night- from me. Thank you, Paul Mallory“, the letter ended. But just when he read those last words, Anthony had an epiphany.

#6. The Name Rang A Bell

Anthony had finally discovered the true identity of Reggie’s (or should we say Tank’s?) former owner, but to his surprise, the name rang a bell. As a matter of fact, he had heard that name once or twice before during his first weeks in the town.

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It happens to be that everybody in town knew Paul, and unfortunately, they had all recently found out that he had tragically died in Iraq while trying to rescue three soldiers on a mission. Because of his heroic work, he received a posthumous Silver Star.

#5. Bursting Into Tears

After finishing the letter, he put it back in the envelope and glanced at Tank. All he could think of was the pooch’s former owner and his tragic fate. He was in such a shock that he burst into tears. He only had feelings of admiration towards Paul, a man who had given his life both for Tank and for the country.

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He then began to wonder how Paul must have been like. What were his passions? What did he do in his free time? What type of games would he play with his pooch? Even though he met him, he was sure of one thing: he definitely loved Tank.

#4. Hey Tank!

After letting it all out, Anthony glanced towards Tank once more and said the words “Hey, Tank!”, and guess what? That was all it took for the pooch to perk up and respond to his new owner. Against all odds, Tank ran to Anthony in a matter of a second.

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Anthony was stunned as he saw how his dog wagged his tail for the first time. He hugged him and petted his face, and for the first time, the pooch felt safe with Anthony. Having read the letter, Anthony went to fetch a couple of tennis balls and went to the backyard to play Tank’s favorite game: throwing and catching!

#3. Paul’s Main Wish

Finally, everything seemed to be falling into place once Anthony had learned what his dog had gone through and once he had discovered his real name! He regretted having felt so frustrated during those first days, but you know what they say, better late than never!

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Besides, that letter was all Anthony needed to make up his mind: he knew he had to keep the dog and he promised himself to take care of him forever. After all, that was what Paul would have wanted:

I can only hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adapt and come to love you the same way he loved me“, Paul wrote in the letter.

#2. Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun

Without a doubt, the day Anthony found that letter was a turning point in his life and his relationship with Tank. From that day onwards, he won Tank’s trust. He would take him to the park every night for him to roam free.

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And just like Paul had said, Tank loved playing around with his tennis balls more than anything in the world. Actually, he just loved to play throwing and catching with any toy. He went back to being the happy dog he had once been, and Anthony knew Paul would feel proud of this.

#1. The Most Noble Act

Paul is one of the many soldiers who were left with no choice but to leave their dogs in a shelter after being deployed to Iraq. Fortunately, there are a few organizations and animal shelters whose aim is to look after these pooches find a safe and loving home.

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Some of these organizations include Guardian Angels For Soldier’s Pet and Dogs On Deployment. We should feel proud that such institutions exist, as this won’t be the first nor the last time that a soldier’s dog is left fatherless and in need of a new guardian. Let’s just hope that more and more people follow Anthony’s steps and decide to adopt a dog. After all, is there any nobler act than that?

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  • About Author

    Hernán Tamargo

    Teacher. Political Scientist. Writer. Feminist... and much more!

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