-- A Dog Owner's Mysterious Note Changes Everything For A New Stranger in Town

A dog can certainly be a man's best friend cheering him up whenever needed and vice versa! But what happens when a new owner has to step in and the dog is left wondering when he will return to the arms of his previous one? This is exactly what happened when there was a new, lonely man in town who decided it would be a good idea to adopt a dog. He was hopeful that his new companion would give him the company he needed. Once he adopted the dog he thought was the right fit, he didn’t anticipate the challenges ahead. He then stumbled upon a mysterious sealed letter the original owner had left for him…

When The Going Gets Tough

The situation was not easy for both Anthony and his new dog. He had arrived at the conclusion that things just wouldn’t work out, nevertheless, he thought he would wait another two weeks and give the dog one last attempt at settling into his new home. After all the shelter had advised that this may be how long it would take for the dog to adjust to his new surroundings.
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He was about to call it quits when something happened that was totally out of the blue. Anthony came across a letter that the previous owner had left behind with his dog. This note amazingly ended up changing the dog’s life as well as Anthony’s…
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The Lonesome Labrador

Although Anthony had only lived in the area for six months, he quickly realized that he had ended up in a very friendly college town. Right from the start, everyone was warm and welcoming and whatever time of day he strolled down the road, people would smile and greet him.
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However, with no partner and no company whatsoever at home, he made the decision to get himself a dog. It so happened that, the local animal shelter had recently put a lonely labrador up for adoption…the dog was known by the name of Reggie.
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The Right Fit

Having come across the new advert for the labrador in the local paper, Anthony was told by the animal shelter that various people had already considered adopting Reggie. He was a bit surprised by this and his curiosity quickly created a spark.
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It was the shelter that had ultimately decided that they were not the right owners for Reggie. Anthony had a strong sense from the start that this specific labrador was the perfect dog for him. Upon enquiring further, Anthony came to know that Reggie’s previous owner had left his dog behind with a few essentials, which included his bed, food bowl, some toys, and a sealed letter…
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Home Time!

From the moment it was time to take his new dog home, the worry kicked in. During his first journey, Reggie started to shake as every little thing made him nervous. It was a new experience for the dog and he didn't seem to be enjoying it one little bit. The only small thing he was comfortable with was an old tennis ball that he kept close and seemed to enjoy biting.
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Aside from this, it was evident that the labrador was not at all enjoying his journey leaving the shelter. Nevertheless, Anthony had faith that Reggie would feel much better after he arrived at their comfortable new home…
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Trembling With Fear

We all know the saying that starting out is usually the toughest part and this was certainly the case as far as Anthony and his new dog were concerned. The lonely man in town literally had to carry his new companion through the door as poor Reggie was just so scared.
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Once he finally got him in the house, the trembling labrador hid in a corner for the entire evening. He was shaking so much that it was almost as if he was freezing to death. However, he was in fact, just a poor dog who was terrified in sudden unfamiliar territory…
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Poor Reggie

Although Anthony had adopted the perfect dog in the heat of the moment, he soon started to realize that things were not panning out as he had hoped and that it was just getting harder to cope with the dog's unexpected behavior. He later admitted, “I was expecting a super happy dog, one who would be excited to see me and who would want to play and cuddle more” .
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He went on to explain, “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. I bought him new toys, but that didn’t change anything.”
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Puppy Eyes

Anthony couldn't help but notice the dog’s eyes, he could sense a deep sadness that wasn’t going to disappear anytime soon. He guessed the dog must have gone through some sort of trauma. Even the shelter had no clue what had actually happened to the sad labrador.
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Anthony continued to try and give Reggie everything he thought he could need – he attempted with food and water, then walks and attention, but nothing made a difference. As time passed, he found himself trying to figure out what terrible things could have happened to the poor animal…
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Reggie Refuses

The more time that went by, the more Anthony could see that Reggie wasn’t doing well at all. He also noticed that the simplest of commands such as "sit" or "stay" that one would assume a pet dog would follow, were impossible for him to carry out.
What was also surprising was when his name was called, Reggie wouldn’t respond in the slightest. On the whole, Reggie acted like a sad and lost soul who didn’t have a place in the world. Anthony also started to assume that he could be doing something completely wrong. But what on earth could it be?
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Make or Break

After two weeks had gone by and the time had come for Anthony to decide what to do with the lost labrador, he attempted a different tactic. He said, “I was a little strict with him, and he disliked it, I could tell.”
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He then explained his steps on contacting the shelter to return the dog, “When the two weeks were up, I felt it was time and that I had to take him back. I knew the number for the shelter would be amongst his old stuff, and I remembered leaving it there in one of the boxes in the guest room.”
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The Strange Envelope

Searching through the dog's belongings, Anthony eventually saw the forgotten envelope that Reggie's original owner had left behind. To Anthony's surprise, Reggie suddenly got quite excited when he saw the man looking through his old things, they seemed to remind him of the past in a positive way.
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The sealed envelope seemed to be drawing Anthony's attention and staring him in the face as if it was dying to be opened. It was equally strange that Anthony got a strong sense that Reggie was also urging him to read the mysterious contents of the letter. Anthony thought twice...was he really sure he wanted to read it?
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The Mystery Unfolds

Anthony felt nervous about taking the next step and finding out exactly what was inside this envelope. He eventually plucked up the courage to open it and he then slowly read each sentence written in the letter.
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“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,” the person had written. “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.”
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A Sixth Sense

Anthony read on... “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,” the person continued.
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“It’s sad for me, but that is why I have decided to write this letter. So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.”
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Reggie's Story

Reggie's previous owner spoke very highly of his dog. “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”.
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“It doesn’t matter where you throw them; he’ll jump right after, so be careful- really don’t do it by any roads. I nearly made that mistake once. 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 explained.
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The Helping Hand

It was now certain that Reggie had received some training from his previous owner. “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,” he continued.
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“‘Shake’ for shaking the water off and ‘paw’ for a high- five. He does ‘down’ when he feels like lying down…He knows ball and food and bone and treats like nobody’s business. I trained Reggie with small food treats,” the person revealed.
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Vet Hate

Reggie's old owner also shared a common dog fact that wouldn't shock most. “Be forewarned: Reggie doesn’t like the vet,” he stated.
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“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.” Let's be honest, which pet actually enjoys going to the vet?! Still, for Anthony it was great to get the facts straight!
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A Pat On The Back

The original owner also emphasized the fact that Reggie needs lots of attention. “Finally, be patient with him. I have never been married, so it’s only been me in his whole life.
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He’s used to going everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can,” he requested. “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.”
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The Shocking Truth

The next part of the letter took Anthony by total surprise. He found out that the dog isn’t in fact even called Reggie! “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,” the person strangely wrote.
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“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. For me to do that, it would feel so final and binding, that handing him over was admitting that I’d never see him again,” he confessed.
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Reality Kicks In

It suddenly dawned on Anthony that the labrador's rightful owner must have been heartbroken writing this letter. “If someone else might be reading it, well, it means that his new owner ought to know his real name. It’ll help you bond with him, and him with you,” he explained.
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“Who knows, maybe you’ll even notice a change in him if he’s been difficult. And that’s why I need to share one more thing with you…” Then, the person went on to reveal something even more shocking…
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No More Reggie

A huge surprise was in store for Anthony. The letter stated, “his real name is Tank because that’s what I drive. I told the shelter that they couldn’t put ‘Reggie’ up for adoption until they received word from my commander.” 
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The story then opened up: “there was no one I could’ve left Tank with. It was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq that they make one phone call to shelter in the ‘event of…’ To tell them Tank could be put for adoption.”
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The Painful Past

It was obvious that the dog's previous owner had really struggled with the decision of putting Tank up for adoption. Every line in the important letter seemed to now become even more and more tragic.
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“Well, this letter is getting depressing, even though, I am just writing it for my dog,” he stated. “But dogs can be like family and he has been with me for the past six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family.” The pain just kept on flowing…
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True Love Never Dies

The writer then shared his important lesson from this heartbreaking experience. “That unconditional love from a dog is what I will take with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things,” he stated.
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“If I had to give up Tank to do it, I’m glad to have done so. He was my example of service and love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades,” he said.
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A Humble Thanks 

The person then thanked Tank's new owner for taking his beloved dog. “I don’t think I can bear another goodbye to Tank, though. I cried so much the first time; maybe I’ll peek in on him and see if he finally managed to get that third tennis ball in his mouth.”
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The touching letter finished with, “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.” It was then that Anthony experienced a real epiphany…
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A True Hero

From that moment on, the name Paul Mallory was one that Anthony would simply never forget. In fact, he suddenly remembered that during his first couple of months in town, he had actually already heard the name before. Paul's sad story was that he had passed away in service during his deployment in Iraq.
Paul Mallory was on an important mission trying to save the lives of three soldiers. A Silver Star had even been awarded to him due to his heroic efforts. Anthony was suddenly unable to control the flood of tears that poured down his face and couldn't do anything else except stare at Tank…
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Soldiering On

Whilst staring at Tank, he thought deeply about Paul and the fact that there was so much more to this man than just being a soldier. Yes, he had, of course, sacrificed his life for his country.
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But this specific man had eventually lost his life, which in turn must have also broken many people’s hearts. He then found himself wondering what Paul must have liked. He wondered about his passions and beliefs. What he knew for certain was just one thing: that he truly loved his precious dog Tank. 
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Tank Turns Around

The next thing that happened was almost miraculous! At that very moment, Anthony blurted out two game-changing words: “Hey, Tank.” It was amazing that this was all it took to perk up the labrador and for him to take notice of Anthony. The dog then happily bounded over to his new owner immediately.
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Anthony softly embraced Tank and petted his head, whilst his tail was wagging. The dog suddenly felt safe with his new owner and was more than content to play ball with Anthony. From that moment on, things started to turn around for the lonely man and his new dog.
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One Final Wish

The puzzle started to come together once Anthony realized what the labrador had been through in his past. He somehow sensed deep in his soul that he was meant to keep and care for the dog forever. That was Paul's final wish.
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He had ended the letter by saying, “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.” Anthony knew that if he couldn't do this for the hero's dog, then he would do it for the hero himself.
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A Fresh Start

Anthony worked on gaining Tank's trust and it ended up being much easier than he thought. Soon enough he was taking the labrador to the park and letting him roam around freely as he had no worry that his dog would run away. Tank would always run back to his new owner safe and sound. It also started to become quite clear to Anthony that he reminded Tank of his first owner.
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The beautiful black labrador enjoyed the simple life, playing with his toys and just knowing that someone was always watching over him seemed to be enough for him. Paul Mallory would have been really proud of his beloved Tank.
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A Man's Best Friend

This brave soldier is just one of many who didn’t have anyone he could rely on to take care of his pet during deployment. There are in fact some trusted organizations that actually work hard to ensure that dogs belonging to soldiers do find a safe home in good time.
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Dogs On Deployment and Guardian Angels For Soldier’s Pet are just a couple of examples out there. This is not the first time and certainly won’t be the last time that a soldier’s dog is in desperate need of a new home. Wouldn't it be great if there were just more people with Anthony's kind heart around…

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