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Shelter Dog

Got this in an email and thought it worthy of sharing....

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 ... in 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 have 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.

A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America' for an amount of 'up to and including their life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

"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

See This?

See This?

This is what you would call a VERY good IP tracking device. Pay close attention. What you're seeing is YOUR IP address and computer operating information. What is stored and sent to ME is a geo-tracking map down to within FEET of where a computer is located, your IP address, operating system information, date and time of when you visit the blog (any page) and what links you click on within the page. It will also tell me what the last page you visited on the internet was.

Welcome to the other side.


Social Graces

As of late, I've been incredibly confused as to what it was I had been feeling.  I was silently and viciously attacked without my knowledge, and I refused to show anger over it.  For that I was accused of being a sociopath, to which anyone out there who has ever dared to read my blogs would know that to be incredibly false. Anyone who's ever known me in person would know that wasn't true.  I'm filled with deep emotions that I must try to control lest they control me.  I just know not to get angry over petty things because it doesn't do anyone any good.

I've learned a lot since moving to California in 2002.

1.  Nice towels are worth spending a few extra dollars on.
2.  People only want to know you if you can do something for them.
3.  A drive along the coast will cure just about anything.
4.  Traveling is worth every cent we can afford to spend on it.
5.  Life is lived outside of four walls and two rooms.
5.  Everything out here is measured in time, not miles.
6.  There's not a person in the world who won't lie to your face.

Social graces within the workplace dictate that names shall not be named.  I am personally guilty of that action, and for that action alone, I apologize.  I apologize to my boss.  I apologize to his wonderful wife. I apologize to those people I named. HOWEVER - what I told was true so I will not apologize for having said it.

As several people lately will attest to, when I have a problem with someone in particular, I go directly to them - not to everyone around them, people who know them, neighbors, roommates and total strangers.  Those would be the actions of a coward - someone who feels it's necessary to hide within the shadows.  I'm not a shadow dweller.

After posting a blog recently, I was accused of being extremely egotistical by someone who claimed to not know me and refused to put anything but "Anonymous" for their name.  To clear THAT one up, I never said that everyone in the world wanted to BE me.  What I said - if you can understand plain English please feel free to go back and read it again here... - was that I've known so few people who actually loved me.  People who claimed to love me were actually obsessive people.  I draw them to me like flies.  They don't realize they are obsessed with me, and perhaps they aren't at first, but that turns out to be the case.  Not every one of them want to BE me, but what I said was "People wanted to be with me, be like me, be around me or just BE me."  I stand by that.  Now - stop posting anonymously and your comments might actually be posted.  *wink*

Those who obsess over others usually do for those reasons - am I wrong?

So I'll leave you with these final thoughts on the matter before I get back to writing about my regular program of stories, travel adventures, upcoming excitement and joyful times...

Don't obsess over others.  It leads to no good.

When you break social graces, it's ok to apologize.

Any time I have a problem with someone, I go to them. If you don't hear it from me, I don't have a problem with you.

And finally - Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  They aren't worth the time, so why give it to them?  People, it's time to move on.

Love vs. Obsess

I have solved the mystery that has been plaguing me for too many years.

The majority of people in my life who have ever claimed they loved me were mistaken. It wasn't that they were lying to me, or even to themselves. Poor fools didn't even realize it. For that matter, even I am one of those fools.

It was never really love. It's a hard reality to face but it's true none the less.

People wanted to be with me, be like me, be around me or just BE me. Since I've never really though that much of myself I never even considered this as a possibility. Sadly, this is the reality of things.

People I've not seen or heard from in 15-20 years contact me with either messages of hate or wanting to find me for some reason. People I thought were friends have gone out of their way to convince themselves that I'm evil. They obsess over me. When I don't get angry at their lies, they try desperately to convince others that i am a socio-path, unable to love. They try to convince others and fail miserably - because those others (the majority at least) are either obsessed or are one of the very rare few who actually DO care about me without the obsession.

In a desperate plea to be loved I have found myself doing favors for others - helping them get jobs, giving them money for Christmas gifts for their family, buying them gifts, sharing anything I have with those I think are friends. But those people we think are friends who are really only obsessors will turn on us faster than anyone, given even half a chance.

I have loved often and many. I have been severely hurt and wounded. I bleed if I am cut. I cry when I am broken. I'm sad when I feel lonely. I'm happy almost every single moment of my life.

I am real.
I am human.
I am PROUD to be me.
And for all of those out there angry that I'm not reacting to negativity, obvious lies, hatred, lack of appreciation, lack of respect and blatant obsession - stick it up your pipe an smoke it. I don't have time for it ... And even if I did, I wouldn't waste it on you.

Obsess away. Be jealous of me. I have an amazing life that I'm proud to share with the world. I'm an amazing person. I'm ok with that. It's just a shame you're so miserable in your own lives that you can't be happy with YOU- like I am with me.

If you want to be WITH me, start by being honest with yourself as to why.

If you want to be LIKE me, be happy with you first; that's a good place to start.

If you want to be AROUND me, then treat me as though I'm human and have a heart.

If you want to BE me, go take a flying leap.

10 Signs

Ten Signs I've Moved to a nicer Neighborhood:

The .99 cent store isn't within walking distance.

You fall asleep to the sound of birds chirping rather than power transformers humming.

Street Sweepers don't have a scheduled time and day because the neighbors aren't that dirty.

There are trees waiting to be planted at the curb rather than torn couches ready to be hauled away.

The people in cars around you in traffic are smiling, not leering or sneering.

There isn't a bargain store on every corner.

The only prowlers in the neighborhood are raccoons and squirrels.

If you hear screaming in the night it's a horror film on tv, not the neighbors fighting.

Dog fights are things people try to avoid.

Tags are found on clothing and baked goods, not walls, trucks, fences, drainpipes and freeway signs.