Letter Uncovers Surprising Details About This Shelter Dog’s Former Owner

By: Lisa Lee | Last updated: Nov 01, 2023

After moving to a new town, Anthony thought that adopting a dog would be a great way to become a part of his new community. He found a dog named Reggie, but unfortunately, the two of them didn’t click.

Anthony was considering returning Reggie to the shelter and finding him a new home when he remembered a letter that stopped him in his tracks.

A Friend In Need

After relocating to a new town, Anthony found himself in a difficult spot. He was single and without any friends. Despite this, he was excited to embark on a new chapter in his life. However, moving to a new place without any connections can be a lonely experience.


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In an effort to combat this loneliness, Anthony decided to get a furry friend and started looking into animal shelters in the area. He hoped to find a new best friend to join him on his adventures in his new home.

Read on to discover if Anthony meets his new best friend.


Adopting A Black Labrador

While reading a local newspaper, Anthony came across an advertisement for a black Labrador that was available for adoption and ready to be placed in a forever home.  Excited at the prospect of having a new furry companion, he quickly picked up the phone and called the shelter.


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He wanted to find out more about the dog and to see if it was still available for adoption. He hoped this would be the perfect chance to bring a new furry friend into his life and have someone to keep him company in his new home.

Many People Wanted The Dog

Anthony couldn’t believe it when he learned that a large number of people had already called about the black lab that was listed for adoption. Despite this, the staff at the shelter assured him that the dog was still available and that none of the potential adopters had been a good fit for the dog. 


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Hopeful and determined, Anthony hung up the phone and made his way over to the shelter as quickly as possible. He needed to be the one to give this sweet dog a loving home and was willing to do what it took to make that happen. 

Reggie Had A Lot Of Things

When Anthony arrived at the shelter, Reggie, the black labrador, was waiting for him. But this was only part of it. The previous owner left Reggie with a nice cushy bed, new tennis balls to play with, and a food bowl with his name on it.


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Something was not right. Anthony kept thinking about why someone would abandon their dog at the shelter, considering it was a loved dog with so many belongings. 

Anthony Was The One

Even though Anthony thought it unusual that his new black lab had so many belongings, he tried to be positive and saw the advantages in all this. He believed that it could only be a good thing for a dog to have familiar objects that have the right smell when moving to a new place.

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The shelter asked Anthony some background questions to see if he was suitable for Reggie. He was a bit nervous, but the people at the shelter decided that Reggie was looking for someone who fit Anthony’s description.


Things Were Difficult

Reggie and Anthony’s return home was not as easy as Anthony had hoped. Reggie seemed hesitant and unwilling to enter when they arrived at the house. Despite Anthony’s attempts to encourage him, the large dog remained stubbornly outside. 


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Eventually, Anthony realized that he had no choice but to pick Reggie up and carry him through the door. Once they were finally inside, Anthony expected the difficulties to be over. But, unfortunately, this was not the case, and more problems were around the corner. 


Sadness In His Eyes

Reggie appeared to be sad, as if something had happened to him, which upset him a lot. Anthony called the animal shelter to inquire about the dog’s emotional well-being, but they did not know anything about it. 

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Despite this, Anthony tried to remain optimistic and hoped that, with time, he and Reggie would develop a strong bond and become close companions. Reggie became more lively after Anthony discovered something in the shelter’s box that seemed to cheer him up.


Difficult Decisions

Despite his best efforts to make Reggie feel at home, Anthony found that the dog remained sad and distant, even after a couple of weeks of living with him. He tried various activities and toys to try to lift the dog’s spirits, but nothing seemed to work. 


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Anthony began to worry that he would never bond with his companion. He knew that it would be a difficult decision, but he eventually came to the conclusion that the best thing he could do for Reggie would be to take him back to the shelter and hope that he would be able to find a suitable family. 


Reggie Loves Shoes

Despite his best efforts to bond with his new dog, things were not going well between Anthony and Reggie. According to Anthony, Reggie had a tendency to be destructive and had caused damage to a few of his belongings, including some shoes and boxes that had been left out. 

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In an interview, he acknowledged that he may have been too stern with Reggie at times and that this may have contributed to the dog’s unhappy demeanor. Anthony regretted his behavior.


The Mysterious Letter

Anthony looked for the phone number from the shelter because he had made his decision. As he searched through the box that Reggie had arrived in, he noticed an unopened envelope that he had previously overlooked, hidden at the bottom of the box. 


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What could it be? And how had it been forgotten? Initially, Anthony was hesitant to open the letter, but his curiosity eventually won out, and he decided to read its contents.


Reggie Recognizes The Letter

As he held the envelope in his hand, ready to open it, Anthony couldn’t help but notice a sudden change in Reggie’s behavior. The dog seemed to perk up and fix his gaze on the letter. It was as if he were waiting for Anthony to discover its contents.

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Intrigued by this reaction, Anthony tore open the envelope and carefully removed the letter inside. As he read its contents, he felt a certain sense of excitement and anticipation. He hoped this new information would provide some insight into why Reggie had been so unhappy and help him find a way to improve their relationship.


Reading The Letter

As he took a deep breath, Anthony couldn’t shake the feeling that something important was about to be explained. He had no idea what to expect from the letter, but he couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation as he tore open the envelope and removed the single sheet of paper.


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The letter began with the message, “To whoever gets my dog…” It was clearly directed at him, the new owner of Reggie the black Lab.  The letter continued by saying the past owner couldn’t be happy the letter was being read because it was only to be opened by Reggie’s new owner. And that meant he was not around anymore.


Last Time Together

Intrigued by the beginning of the letter, Anthony continued reading to find out more about Reggie and his previous owner. The letter went on to reveal that the previous owner had recently left Reggie at the shelter and was not happy about it. 

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It stated, “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.” Anthony could feel the last owner was heartbroken.


Reggie Sensed The Change

As he read on, Anthony was unaware that the letter was about to reveal a heartbreaking story about Reggie’s recent past. It stated, “He knew something was different.” His previous owner had packed the dog’s belongings and left them by the door before. 


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But the pup could sense something was off with the situation this time. This passage gave Anthony a glimpse into the problematic changes that Reggie had recently experienced and the sadness that he had likely felt as a result.


Tennis Balls Are Life

Anthony was reading each word from the letter with great attention, eagerly looking for why Reggie was abandoned at the shelter. He wouldn’t find out this until the end of the letter, but he would learn some helpful information about Reggie before that.

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Most importantly, the letter confirmed to Anthony that Reggie loved tennis balls. He even managed to fit two inside his mouth. The old owner made sure to let Anthony know not to throw the balls close to roads as Reggie will not hesitate to chase after them. But let’s find out what exactly happened to the previous owner.


The More, The Merrier

The letter continued, “He loves tennis balls. The more, the merrier.” He claimed to sometimes think Reggie was part squirrel due to the way he hoarded as many tennis balls as he could fit in his mouth. So far, he had fit two but always tried for three.


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“He hasn’t done it yet. Doesn’t matter where you throw the ball, he’ll bound after it, so be careful.” From the letter, Anthony could see that the previous owner really loved this dog, and he started feeling for him.


Reggie Was Trained

As Anthony read through the letter left by the previous owner of his adopted dog, he was amazed by what he had learned. It seemed that Reggie had actually been trained to perform a variety of tricks. Not only could he sit and roll over, but he could also shake and give a high-five when asked. 

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Anthony couldn’t believe it–he had had no idea that his furry friend was so well-trained. It was great for him how much he was learning about Reggie’s past, all thanks to this mysterious letter that he had previously missed.


Reggie Hates The Vet

The letter not only informed Anthony of Reggie’s professional training and obsession with playing fetch with tennis balls, but it also included a warning–Reggie did not like being anywhere near the vet. He was always trying to hide when he knew he was being taken to the scary vet.


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Despite this useful information, Anthony still had questions, particularly about how Reggie had ended up at the shelter in the first place. It was the most critical piece of information. 


Reggies Goes Everywhere

Anthony continued to read, “Finally, be patient with him,” the letter read. “I have never been married, so it’s only been me in his whole life. He’s used to going everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can.”

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The previous owner was making quite an impression on Anthony through this letter. He felt he knew what he needed to do for Reggie, as it was nice to think that Reggie could be happy. However, what came next in the letter was heartbreaking.


Reggie, A People Dog

Anthony continued to read the letter as he was more and more on the edge of his seat. The letter further explained, “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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There was more to the letter, though. So far, there was only a happy description of lovely Reggie, but Anthony could feel something important coming, and he was not ready for what he was about to read and find out.


Reggie Was Not Actually Reggie

Going down the words on the page, Anthony found something that shocked him. The name of the dog was not actually Reggie. It all made sense because whenever Anthony tried to call Reggie by his name, he got absolutely no response.

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The letter read, “He’s a clever dog; he’ll get used to [his new given name] and will respond eventually. But I couldn’t bear to give them his real name. For me to do that…was admitting that I’d never see him again.”


He Was Tank All Along

Reggie’s real name was, in fact, Tank. Anthony did not think it was a suitable name for a friendly, calm black Labrador. But when he said Tank, the dog perked his ears. Anthony felt a lot of joy when he saw this.


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He then learned why the previous owner chose this name for the dog. He was an M1 Armor Crewman who operated tanks in the United States military. Anthony was more and more fascinated by this.


Paul Mallory, A Hero

The next thing Anthony found out was the previous owner’s name. It was Paul Mallory. The United States military man gave special instructions to the army on what to do with Tank.

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The instructions were given in case something happened to Mallory. The letter said that this would happen if he would not come back home. If so, Tank was to be put up for adoption and given to someone that would take care of Tank the way Mallory took care of him.


Mallory Did Not Survive

Mallory, while attempting to rescue his fellow soldiers, did not make it. That was his last mission. In recognition of his bravery, he was given a Silver Star posthumously. He was a national hero.


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The Army fulfilled his wishes and contacted a local shelter to find a new home for his dog. After considering several families, the shelter was finally happy to have found a suitable home with Anthony. While reading this, Anthony started to feel that it was his mission to take care of Tank.



Anthony finally got to the end of the letter with tears in his eyes. He carefully folded it, put it back in the envelope, and set it back in its box. He knew everything would be okay now.

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He looked at Reggie, and for the second time, he softly said his real name, Tank. The dog wagged his tail instantly, and his eyes softened. Anthony wanted to share his experience and made a post on social media with exactly what he told Tank.


Tank Was Taken Care Of

Anthony petted and told Tank, “It’s me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me. So what do you say we play some ball?” Tank perked his ears, and when Anthony said one more time, “tennis balls,” he knew what to do.


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Tank went to bring the balls, and maybe, for the first time, he was actually holding three tennis balls in his mouth. Since then, their relationship has totally changed. They spend most of their time together, and Tank is happy again.