The Truth About Paul Mallory and Tank

You all know how these attention seeking Facebook posts drive me insane, well here’s one that is definitely a myth. My great aunty shared this on Facebook and I would just like to state that even though the story is not true it is a very moving story.


This is what was posted with the picture on Facebook:

“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 back-seat, 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 honoured 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 what do you 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.”


So I did some research into this as I wanted to know if the story is true and this is what I found:

paul mallory

I’m not the first person to search for this guy, this is the auto list that Google throws up when you type in Paul Mallory. There is no record of him, no military record, no record of a Paul Mallory receiving a Silver Star and in the list of military deaths for the USA there is no Paul Mallory. searches even further and looks at silver start recipients who have no siblings and all recipients have a sibling. You can read their article here. goes on to state that there are several factors that are iffy in this story: That a shelter would hold a dog indefinitely, that the dog owner never told the shelter the dogs real name and that Tanks new owner didn’t read the letter from Paul Mallory straight away

But saying all this I still like this one. I think we need to remember that when things happen like our soldiers not coming home, terrible accidents or things as atrocious as 9/11 there are pets out there who have lost owners. There are dogs, cats, and even little hamsters that rely on these people and love them unconditionally that have suddenly lost their best friend.

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23 thoughts on “The Truth About Paul Mallory and Tank

  1. “There are dogs, cats, and even little hamsters that rely on these people and love them unconditionally that have suddenly lost their best friend.”

    I cracked..

  2. such a moving story, I was so touched i searched for Paul Mallory so i could try and find out what shelter handled this and I wanted to send several cans of tennis balls to shelter for them to contact new owner of Tank and have him pick up balls. and, I was going to challenge everyone that read article to send tennis balls so Tank would have 1000’s of tennis balls. Now, smh!!!

    1. You miss the point, and the point is Paul Mallory is every one of the 7000+ service members that have perished in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many, many left beloved pets behind who miss them terribly. I know….I’m in the armed forces and my dog gets depressed when I’m gone for two days….imagine how he’d be if I never came home.

      So what if Paul Mallory didn’t exist….as I mentioned, this country has many Paul and Paulette Mallorys and Tanks.

      1. Hi, the point was understood. The point of this post was to convey the message that even though this is a great story, Paul and Tank are fictional characters :) xxx

  3. There is absolutely no guarantee that any of the details in the “note” are factually correct, and maybe that was the intention; as perhaps the original owner of Tank/Reggie was very economical in order to protect their real identity!

  4. As soon as I read this I smelled bullshit. The page I read it on said,

    “If I have to give up Tank to keep those terrible people coming to the US i am glad to have done so.”

    Yeah right, all those terrible Iraqi’s.

  5. I agree it’s a touching piece of fiction. The human side of war gives us pause and tears. So many lifes lost and so so many heroes and heroines. The inhuman side? Anger. Why do we fight them in the first place?

  6. People please…Just be happy that Tank found his forever home. Remember there are so many other pets that end up “behind the one way door.” Good for you Tank!!!!!

      1. Wow people! You will be leave anything. Listen to Reg, it’s a fake story. A story made up about someone impersonating a soldier that paid the ultimate sacrifice. It’s fine to write a non fictional book or movie about something like this but to put it on a social site and sell it as real is bull shit! I served in Iraq as an army flight medic and the one thing that chaps my hide is someone impersonating a hero and living precariously though the post of people be leaving the story. Stop making up the hero stories and join a service, do your part by serving for real. You will not regret being part of that brotherhood that has experienced war. Otherwise GET THERAPY!

  7. This story should have a “fictional story” disclaimer. Loving, touching story? Yes, but stories should not be made up to look real just to stress a point (no matter how important the point). Making up a story and portraying it as real merely diminishes the real stories of those deserving compassion.

  8. Honestly.. this story has happened thousands of times since people started keeping pets… just insert factual human name along with factual breed and factual name of dog and tah dah.. and no one is “SELLING” a pretty amazing point not bullshit… especially with Mike in mind when writing this. Did you BUY something in order to read it? Did someone demand you give money to your local charity?… but the Brotherhood of War as you so eloquently put it.. who needs therapy? Fact – great short story… Fact- if you got stuck on this guys name and credentials. The point is so over your head you cant even see it.

    1. I’m sure this story has happened thousands of times. I think the point people you disagree with are making and one YOU are missing, is we don’t really need people to post fictional stories touted as truth on social media to remind us all of the sacrifices made by men and women in the armed forces. There are plenty of real life stories and real medals awarded every day that make us all proud.

  9. Thanks! I suspected the story which is why I googled Tank and Paul…that’s as far as I got before your site popped up. Fiction can move us greatly. I didn’t believe it was true from the first, but I was touched by the purpose of the piece. The writer even added pictures to add more veracity. Still I am moved.

  10. There are thousands of movies made about war most fiction. So what’s the problem with this story. If it highlights the good people do. Brings it home how people join the forces and take risks. If that story makes people see how some people fight for their country then donate to war Heros charity then great .

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