Debate Magazine

The Story of a Dog Named Tank

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

This is the story of how a kind-hearted person adopted a shelter black labrador and discovered the dog’s true name.

Have a box of tissue ready. You’ll need it.





Wiping away my tears, I was about to hit “Publish” on this post but decided to search on the web for more info on Tank’s original owner, the soldier “Paul Mallory.”

 Alas, the tear-jerking story is not true. Sigh ….


This Tank e-mail was first sighted in August 2008, according to, a well-respected nonpartisan fact-finding website that confirms or debunks rumors and urban legends.

The first clues that the story is unlikely are the rather implausible ideas that a shelter would agree to indefinitely hold a dog and that the new owner would accept a sealed letter from the previous owner and not bother to open and read it, points out.

Even if those things could have happened, the other details don’t check out. First of all, found no “Paul Mallory” on any casuality list on websites that list the names of all U.S. service personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count’s and the Washington Post’s Faces of the Fallen. A double-check of those sites, plus The Associated Press’ Iraq and Afghanistan casualty databases, confirms that.

Even if you assume that “Paul Mallory” is a pseudonym, notes some other discrepancies. The e-mail says that Tank’s new owner remembered reading about the local kid Paul Mallory, and knew that he had received the Silver Star posthumously. The soldier’s letter said he was never married and had no living parents, siblings or other relative with whom he could have left he dog. looked at all the service members posthumously awarded a Silver Star on the Silver Star database at the website and every one listed some combination of parents, siblings, wives or children.

I also went on the website “Hall of Heroes: Silver Star Operation Iraqi Freedom.” There is no Paul Mallory listed as a Silver Star recipient in the Iraq War.

So why am I posting this any way? – to warn others not to fall for this hoax.

People who perpetrate these Internet hoaxes deserve a special ring in Dante’s Inferno.

H/t to FOTM’s joworth


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