It all began in 2008 when Ricky move to a new city. Feeling lonely, he decided to rescue a dog and began to look at the local shelters. It was not long before a black lab caught his eye and he went down to the shelter to meet the dog.
It was there he met Ray. An owner surrender who found himself, through no fault of his own, behind shelter walls. Ricky took a liking to Ray and decided to adopt him. Thrilled to have Ray, the two went home to start their new friendship.
Once home, Ricky took Ray inside and unloaded all his belongings that were left with him at the shelter. Thinking that having his stuff close by would help acclimate Ray, Ricky was happy to be able to give him his dog bed, toys, and he also was given a letter from Ray’s owner.
The shelter told Ricky that it might take some time for Ray to adjust to his new home so when Ray didn’t respond to his name or the commands he was supposed to know, Ricky grew concerned. However, trying to be patient, he waited for Ray to make himself at home.
After two weeks, Ray still was not comfortable and now chewing up his new house and shoes. Ricky began to think he made a mistake and was thinking about returning Ray to the shelter when he remembered the letter he was given.
He opened up the letter and began to read…If you’re reading this, it began…
It turned out Ray’s owner, Paul Mallory, was a tank driver deployed to Iraq. Having no immediate family, he arranged for Ray to be taken to the shelter, if it happened that he’d never return home to his beloved pup.
He explained how much Ray loved tennis balls, to play fetch, to carry three balls in his mouth, how much he liked to run, and how many toys he had. He explained that Ray was totally focused on balls and not to throw them in the street or he’d run into traffic to chase them.
He then began sharing even more personal details including the most surprising one. Ray’s name was actually, Tank. His owner didn’t want him left under his real name in case, in some twist of fate, he was actually able to return and take his dog home.
Sadly, that reunion was never meant to be but with a new understanding and renewed devotion, Ricky recognized that Paul Mallory was a war hero and he was honored to have his dog, Tank. It was then he spoke the pup’s real name for the first time, “Tank, come to me.” And, Tank’s eyes sparkled for the first time as he ran to Ricky.
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