FOUNDED: February 9, 2001
|08-16-2009, 08:35 PM||#1|
*VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Marty Robbins old hometown, Glendale Arizona--a suburb of Phoenix.
A DOG STORY FOR DOG LOVERS......
Don't read this unless you are prepared to get a box of Kleenex.
> 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
> 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
> 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.".........
> 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
> 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 to 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
> Thank you, Paul
> 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.
> "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 in the next room.
> And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.