After moving to a new town, Anthony decided rescuing a dog would be the perfect way to integrate himself into his home. He found Reggie, but, sadly, the two of them didn't hit it off.
Anthony was about to bring Reggie back to the shelter, hoping he'd find happiness with another family. Then, he remembered a letter that stopped him in his tracks.
Anthony Just Moved And Wanted A Friend
Anthony was single and friendless after moving to a new town. Even so, he was excited to start this new chapter in his life. But moving to a new area without knowing anyone can be lonely.
So, Anthony decided to get a friend of his own and began researching different dog shelters in the area.
He Found A Black Labrador Up For Adoption
After looking at one of the local newspapers, Anthony stumbled across a black Labrador. According to the listing, the pooch was all set to be adopted and placed in his forever home.
It was the perfect situation! Anthony picked up his phone and called the shelter right away to ask about the dog.
A Lot Of People Called About The Dog
To Anthony's dismay, a lot of people had already called about the black lab in the listing. The thing was, the people at the shelter said the dog was still available.
Apparently, no one who had come in was a proper fit for the dog. Once he hung up the phone, Anthony raced over to the shelter.
Reggie Came With Toys, A Bed, And A Food Bowl
Anthony arrived at the shelter and learned the black lab's name was Reggie. But there was more. Reggie's previous owner had left the dog with a bed, new tennis balls, and even a food bowl.
It seemed strange. Why would someone drop their dog off at a shelter with all of their belongings?
The Shelter Thought Anthony Was The Perfect Fit
While Anthony was curious why Reggie had all of his things, he shook it off. At least he'd have familiar-smelling items in a new place. That could only be a good thing, right?
The shelter thought Anthony was the perfect fit, and he and Reggie left together and headed home.
Things Weren't Easy
Sadly, it was not smooth sailing for Reggie and Anthony. When they arrived back at the house, Reggie was reluctant to go inside. In the end, Anthony had to pick the large dog up and carry him through the door.
Unfortunately, things did not exactly get any easier from there.
Reggie Was Sad
Reggie looked sad like something had happened to him. When Anthony called the shelter to ask about the dog's emotional state, they had no answers.
Hoping he would improve with time, Anthony shook off the dog's sad look and hoped he and Reggie would find some common ground and become good friends.
Two Weeks Later, Nothing Changed
Anthony waited and waited for Reggie to warm up to him and his new home. But, after two weeks, nothing changed, and the dog was as sad as ever.
There was only one thing Anthony could think to do: return Reggie to the shelter and hope he'd be happy with another family.
Reggie Was Chewing Up Shoes
Things clearly weren't working out between Anthony and Reggie. According to the new dog owner, Reggie was a bit destructive. During an interview, he said, 'He chewed a couple of shoes and some unpacked boxes."
"I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell."
Anthony Found A Letter Hidden In Reggie's Things
Sifting through the box Reggie was sent home with, Anthony tried his hardest to find the number to the shelter. That's when he saw something he forgot about.
Tucked away on the bottom of the box was an unopened envelope. At first, Anthony hesitated to open the letter. But, in the end, curiosity got the best of him.
Reggie Perked Up At The Sight Of The Letter
Before he broke the seal of the envelope, Anthony noticed something change in Reggie's behavior. The dog seemed to perk up at the sight of the letter. Almost as though he was waiting for Anthony to find it and open it.
Now, it was just a matter of seeing what was written inside.
He Began To Read
Anthony took a deep breath and opened the letter. Needless to say, he was not anticipating what was written down on the page.
The letter began, "To whoever 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."
It Was Their Last Car Ride Together
Interested in what the previous owner had to say about Reggie, Anthony continued to read.
The letter went on, reading, "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."
Reggie Knew Something Was Off
Little did Anthony know but the letter was about to take a very sad turn and show how Reggie's life quickly changed.
"He knew something was different," it read. "I have packed up his bed and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time, it's like he could sense that something was wrong."
Tennis Balls = Reggie's Life
Anthony wouldn't learn why the previous owner dropped Reggie off at the shelter until the end of the letter. But he did learn some interesting things about the dog.
First, he learned that Reggie was a huge fan of tennis balls, fitting two inside of his mouth at times. The previous owner even warned against throwing them near the road because he'd chase after them!
The More Tennis Balls The Better
The letter read, "He loves tennis balls, the more the merrier. Sometimes I think he's part squirrel, the way he hoards them. He usually has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there."
"He hasn't done it yet. Doesn't matter where you throw the ball, he'll bound after it, so be careful."
He Was Also Trained
The next thing the previous owner wrote actually shocked Anthony. Reggie was trained! He apparently knew some basic commands, like sit and rollover. But he also knew how to shake and high-five.
It was amazing what Anthony was learning about the adopted dog, all from a mysterious letter he'd overlooked.
The Vet Was Not Reggie's Favorite Place
While the letter was telling Anthony what Reggie was trained to do and how he loved playing fetch with tennis balls, there was also a bit of a warning. It turned out that Reggie was not a fan of the vet!
Even though that was a very good bit of information, Anthony still had questions, namely, how Reggie wound up at the shelter.
The Previous Owner Took Reggie Everywhere
Anthony read on. "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."
Anthony was beyond intrigued by the previous owner, even if things were about to become very sad.
Anthony Learned Reggie Loves People
The letter continued, reading, "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."
That wasn't the last bit of information the previous owner wrote down, though. The next thing stopped Anthony right in his tracks.
Reggie's Name Wasn't Reggie
As Anthony kept reading, he was shocked to learn that Reggie's name wasn't actually Reggie. It was no wonder the poor dog wasn't responding to him!
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."
His Real Name Was Tank
Anthony learned that Reggie's real name was actually Tank. A strange name, at least in Anthony's mind. But he'd soon realize the term "tank" held a lot of meaning for the previous owner.
He learned that the previous owner was in the United States military as an M1 Armor Crewman who operated tanks.
The Previous Owner's Name: Paul Mallory
As Anthony continued to read the letter, he learned that the United States military man's name was Paul Mallory and that he'd given the army instructions.
He'd told the branch that if anything were to happen to him, they were to call the local shelter, tell them he wasn't coming home, and allow Reggie to be put up for adoption.
Mallory Did Not Make It Home
Sadly, while on a mission to save some of his fellow comrades, Mallory did not make it back. He was posthumously awarded a Silver Star for his bravery.
The Army followed through with his wishes, calling the local shelter and giving them instructions to find the dog a loving family to go home with. After passing on a few families, the shelter finally met Anthony.
Anthony And Tank Became Great Friends
After finishing the letter, Anthony folded it up and put it back in the box. According to him, he looked at "Reggie" and whispered the name Tank. Immediately, the dog whipped his head, tailing wagging all around and his eyes softening.
In a social media post, Anthony went on to tell his followers what he told Tank.
Tank Was Going To Be Okay
Anthony 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?"
According to Anthony, that's the exact moment their relationship changed, as Tank tore out of the room only to return with a few tennis balls in his mouth.
It Was A Typical Day For Merson Mariano
Going into work that morning, Merson Mariano was expecting much of the same. He could have had no idea that his career as a Hyundai dealership manager was about to change, all because of one little act of kindness.
It was all because he decided to take in a dog from the cold.
The Dog Was Cold And Hungry
That morning, Mariano went to work, not really expecting anything exciting to happen. To his surprise, a dog was waiting on the front doorstep when he got there. The dog looked cold, and its stomach was growling with hunger.
While a stray animal wasn't uncommon for this area of Brazil, it couldn't still be bad for business.
Mariano Was Used To The "'Community Pets"
Mariano was a pet lover and was used the "community pets" around this neighborhood in Brazil. Even so, he didn't want a stray dog deterring potential customers from coming into the dealership.
So, he did the only thing he could think of -- he tried to shoo it away and, when that didn't work, ignore it.
He Went On Ignoring The Dog
It was difficult for Mariano to ignore the hungry dog. But he'd already adopted two pets and didn't have room for a third. He also knew that once he began feeding the dog, there would be no getting rid of it
So, he continued to ignore the big puppy dog eyes and went about his morning.
Mariano Was Beginning To Panic
The dog was not leaving. And Mariano became scared that it would scare away potential customers or even become aggressive. He was really at a loss and didn't know what to do.
He figured that if he ignored the dog long enough, perhaps it would get the hint and look for food elsewhere.
Nope, The Dealership Was Now The Dog's Home
The dog was relentless, though. Apparently, the steps of the dealership were its new spot, and he wasn't going to leave. In fact, the only time the dog left was to search for food.
Once it was done with its hunt, the dog would come right back to the steps of the dealership, sit down, and start wagging its tail.
Mariano Gave In And Allowed The Dog Inside
Eventually, Mariano gave in to the dog's adorable face and grumbling tummy, allowing it inside the dealership. His thought was to feed and house the dog for a few days and then send it on its way.
First things first, Mariano wanted to get the poor thing warm. He rushed to his car, checking his trunk to see if there was a blanket inside.
They Hoped He Wouldn't Get Aggressive
Mariano was wrapping the dog in the blanket when other employees began to walk through the door. All of them were curious about the new, yet temporary, dealership dog.
And when a potential customer walked in with their dog, more than one of those employees held their breath, hoping the stray didn't get aggressive.
They Became Fast Friends
To everyone's amazement, the stray and the other dog became the best of friends! The stray even began following the salesman around the showroom as they were explaining the different cars to the customer.
It looked as though the stray was in training! In fact, the dog was behaving so well the customer even asked who the owner was.
The Customer Broke Down After Hearing The Dog Was A Stray
Mariano explained to the customer that the dog wasn't anyone's and was a stray that decided the dealership was its new home. To Mariano's surprise, the customer broke down in tears, shaking his head and crying in the middle of the dealership.
After working there for seven years, Mariano had never experienced this type of customer reaction before.
The Customer Began His Story
That's when the customer began explaining his story to Mariano. As it turned out, the customer's mother had recently passed away, and after giving everything to charity, the only thing left was her car.
And on the way to the dealership, he was asking for a sign from his mother. For him, that sign was the stray.
The Stray Looked Like His Late Mother's Dog
The customer explained to Mariano that the stray looked very similar to his mother, Rose's dog. After his father passed away, the dog was his mother's whole world. After being told he was mellow and didn't bark a lot, Rose rescued him.
They loved each other for years, and the rescue even saved Rose from a horrible building fire.
It All Had To Do With The Tucson Prime
Rose and her rescue spent a loving eight years together, the customer explained. But that's not where the story ends. While the stray in the dealership looked like his mother's former dog, it was the fact that he was lying under a Tucson Prime that brought on his tears.
Mariano was confused as to why that brought on his tears. Then the customer brought him out to his car.
His Mother's Dog Was Named Tucson
Going into the trunk of his car, the customer dug into one of the boxes he kept from his mother's house. On a blue collar was a tag with the name "Tucson" etched into it.
Mariano couldn't believe the coincidence. Not only did the two dogs have a striking similarity, but the name was that of one of the Hyundai cars!
Neither Mariano Nor The Customer Could Take The Dog
After seeing the collar and hearing the customer's story, Mariano knew the stray was there for a reason. Unfortunately, neither he nor the customer could take the dog in. The customer already had three of his own!
Even so, Mariano knew something had to be done for the dog. And that's when inspiration struck!
Mariano Got An Idea
Hyundai was a pet-friendly company. So, why not have the stray become the dealership's mascot? All he had to do was get permission from his higher-ups and the stray would have a new home and people to dote on him.
Now, it was just a matter of writing an email and getting a "yes."
The Higher-Ups Said Yes!
The higher-ups thought it was a great idea! Not only did Mariano get a yes, but they also sent over a check to get the dog some supplies and get checked out by a veterinarian. He'd been on the streets, after all.
Now, Mariano had to think of a name for the dealership's new mascot.
He Was Named Tucson Prime
After hearing the customer's story about Tucson, Mariano thought it was a sign that the new mascot's name should be "Tucson Prime," paying homage to the late dog and the company's Tucson Prime car.
Mariano was over the moon. He even ran to his office to print out Tucson Prime's very own employee badge.
Tucson Prime's Social Media Presence Skyrocketed
Thanks to social media, namely Instagram, the news about Tucson Prime's new employment at the Hyundai dealership went viral. People from all over followed Tucson Prime's story and even sent in gifts for the new mascot.
People were even coming to the dealership for the sole purpose of meeting the pooch!
The Big Bosses Invited Tucson Prime For A Visit
Mariano couldn't believe the type of publicity Tucson Prime brought the dealership. So much so that the dog actually got a huge invitation -- to visit the Hyundai plants and meet the big bosses.
Mariano and the rest of the dealership employees couldn't have been happier for the newest member of their team.
He Was A Celebrity!
To celebrate the big invitation, the dealership bought Tucson Prime a new leash and bowties. They wanted him to give a good impression! Of course, Mariano was the one to bring the pooch to the plant.
And, walking Tucson Prime around, he couldn't have been more proud. Tucson Prime was a little celebrity!
Tucson Had Come A Long Way
The plant workers and even the big bosses were won over by Tucson Prime's loving nature, running over to give him belly rubs, hugs, kisses, and all of the pets a dog could ask for.
He'd come a long way from sitting on the steps of the dealership begging for a little food.
Tucson Was Asked To Star In The New Hyundai Commercials
And Tucson Prime's story doesn't end there. While at the plant, the marketing team was so enthralled with the dog that they gave Mariano a ridiculous offer. They wanted to use Tucson Prime as the new face of their new set of nationwide commercials.
Mariano was speechless. Tucson Prime's fame was about to hit a whole new level!
Mariano Couldn't Believe What Happened
Getting back to the dealership, Tucson Prime went straight to bed, tuckered out from all of the activity at the plant. On the other hand, Mariano was wide awake and still trying to process everything that had just happened.
His dealership dog was about to be the face of the entire company!
An Act Of Kindness Changed Everything
Everything that had just happened to Mariano was because a group of people got together to give a street dog the life he deserved. They brought him in from the cold and gave him a home.
In return, Tucson Prime gave joy and brought smiles to people all over the world.