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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reggie - The Black Lab

I was going to post today about the little yellow cellphone pouch that I finished up this morning.  That was before I read my email.  My dad sent me this story.  It's so touching and ya'll know that I just love animals, both cats and dogs....well, I decided to share this instead.  And just for the record, I'm particularly fond of Black Labs.  I know this is off topic but I'm sure many of my readers are animal lovers like me.  Sorry that the formatting isn't perfect.  I just copied and pasted from my dads email.


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 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 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 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. 
"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

To ALL the veterans, I THANK YOU for your Service to our great County!! 



Sheila said...

Pam, I read that story on Facebook a week or so ago. It broke my heart. I'm a little partial to black labs as well. We list ours last year. Thanks for sharing.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Hard to type for tears. Such a sad, yet wonderful, story.

Andy Lloyd Williams said...

That is one of the most moving stories I've heard about dogs. We have a chocolate coloured Lab, Ruby, whose family have emigrated to Australia & contacted the Lab Rescue Trust. My son's family have a light yellow one also adopted from the Lab Rescue Trust. The dog had to have an operation on his "elbow", so the couple who owned him said they didn't want him anymore cos he wasn't perfect, and could the vet put him down. Can you believe it. The vet obviously contacted the Lab Rescue Trust and Bruce had a happy ending.

Julianne said...

Omg..I love this..thanks for posting it, I too am a black lab lover.

Julianne said...

Thank you so much for posting this, what a wonderful thing. I love our country and black labs!

shawkl said...

Wow, great story. Not fair to make a gal cry before she has even had her coffee yet however. Hugs!

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