LOLOL, so great.
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
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.
____________ _________ _________ _______
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.
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.”
Hit me right in the emotions.
I am usually not one to get into the politics of people’s opinions of law enforcement. I know there are good and bad people in every walk of life, but I always try to give the benefit of the doubt to those that are in a position to “protect and serve”. But yesterday, a harsh reality was “served” when I received a phone call from a very near and dear person to me. The words I heard coming through my phone were nothing I would have expected in a million years—a very distraught voice saying, “The cops just shot and killed Cisco! They killed my best friend!” In shock, I asked what had happened. At the time, I only got a very brief description, as Michael Paxton was in shock and traumatized over the horrific loss of his dog. I immediately drove to his place (which is about 30 minutes away). When I arrived, I found him clutching Cisco’s body, crying and trying to understand what had just transpired.
Apparently, unbeknown to Mike, there was a domestic disturbance between a male and a female in his neighborhood, and the Austin Police Dept was called in. Unfortunately (seems like such an understatement), Mike found out quickly about the call when he walked into his driveway from his back yard where he and Cisco, his Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Healer), had been playing frisbee. Police officer T. Griffin, Badge #6778, was standing behind Mike’s vehicle, in his driveway. Before Mike even realized Officer Griffin was there, the officer had pulled his gun on Mike, yelling at him to freeze and put his hands up. In a panic, Mike stated to the officer that he lives there, and asked what and why this was happening.
Hearing the commotion, Cisco came from the back yard and into the driveway, barking at the officer, as any dog would do. Mike’s hands in the air, a gun pointed at him, he was afraid for his life, and therefore could not move or attempt to quiet or restrain Cisco. He told the officer that Cisco would not bite him, to please not shoot his dog. Almost immediately, a bullet was put into Cisco’s chest, killing him instantly. Mike still leaned against his truck, unable to move, was not allowed to even hold his best friend as he took the last breath of his abruptly-shortened life.
As was realized after this horrific event had transpired, THE COP WAS AT THE WRONG ADDRESS!!! An innocent man was traumatized by not only having a gun pulled on him by someone that is supposed to be there “to protect and to serve”, but his best friend of seven-and-a-half years was wrongly shot and killed. FOR WHAT?! Because Officer Griffin did not confirm where he was supposed to be before these events transpired!
Nothing will likely happen to Officer Griffin for any of this, as his supervisor arrived after everything took place, and she defended his actions. Mike was given the officers’ information, as well as a phone number to call, if desired. No apologies, no sympathy. Nothing. The officer even told Mike that Cisco should have been on a leash! IN HIS OWN YARD?! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!
We ended up taking Cisco’s body to be buried at a friend’s house, out in the country. Four of us spent two hours digging and breaking through limestone-filled ground, to make a hole large enough to lay to rest this man’s best friend and companion.
There are so many things wrong with this situation, that I just can’t even express it in words. My heart aches for you Mike. I know how much you love Cisco, and how much Cisco loved you. Although I am not sure what justice can or will be served in this case, your story will not go unheard. Along with many of your friends, in an effort to gain some sort of justice for you and Cisco, I am tagging all of our local news media here to get the word out.
This type of excessive force has GOT to be stopped. There needs to be consequences for behaviors such as this. There needs to be a system of “checks and balances” used, to be certain this type of thing doesn’t happen anymore—none of this would have occurred, had the officer just VERIFIED THE CORRECT ADDRESS before pulling a gun on Mike and his dog. I urge anyone and everyone that reads this, to please share this story, and let it be known that these happenings aren’t just things we read about going on in some “other city”, but right here, seriously affecting people we know and love.
If you want further information, please feel free to contact Mike directly. He is looking for any help he can get in seeking justice for his dog’s unwarranted killing.
I am so mad I can feel it in my face.
We have to try to get this cop suspended or worse.
Let’s try to get this story out, call up the local media have your friends give details on what the character of Cisco was, don’t let this asshole get away with murdering him.
When a group of dog rescuers arrived at the market to show the dogs available for adoption, somebody had left 12 puppies on the street – 8 of them were approximately 5 weeks old.
In shock, the rescuers didn’t know what to do. The group had recently canceled several adoption days at the market because of bad weather, so they were over their capacity with puppies still needing to be adopted out. Also, the abandoned puppies were so small that they needed to be fed every two hours, including at night.
That’s when a spayed stray dog approached, lay down beside the shoe box where the puppies were sleeping, and began caring for them.
She wouldn’t let anyone get near the babies.
Very carefully, the rescuers placed the puppies closer to her.
She began caressing them and offering the warmth of her belly to the newborns.
The maternal instinct kicked in and…
after a few hours, she had milk and was feeding the puppies.
The rescue group named her Vida, which means “life” in Portuguese.
sometimes i just cries