The sudden and unexplained loss of a loved one can leave a lasting pain in its wake that is unlike anything else. However, for a 10-year-old boy and his mother who had their dog stolen from the backyard of their home a year ago, the pain that came with losing him was made worse by the fact that they had no idea what had become of their loyal pet—there was no closure, no chance to say goodbye.
He was just gone, and no one knew what that meant. Whether he was alive or dead, suffering or living peacefully—there was simply no way of knowing.
About a year and a half ago, the father of Josh Calderon and husband of Michelle Miller died in a sudden accident. However, before his untimely passing he’d brought two dogs home to live with his family.
Unfortunately, one of the dogs, a black and white American Staffordshire named Tank, was stolen from the family’s backyard one day without any clues to shed light on who had taken him or why he had been taken.
Tank’s disappearance compounded the loss previously experienced by the family. The theft of Tank was especially tough on Josh, since the dog was like a living connection to his father.
Days, weeks, and months passed, but no news or sightings of Tank surfaced. After a while, it seemed as though the beloved family pet and last gift from a loving father would be gone for good. However, just when it looked like all hope had been lost in the matter, a miracle happened: the family spotted Tank on television!
San Antonio’s Animal Defense League had appeared on ABC’s KSAT 12 news program with two rescued dogs: one appeared to have been burned with chemicals down its spine, and the other had suffered a gunshot wound through his chest.
Without knowing his actual name, the Animal Defense League referred to the dog with the bullet wound as Mr. Big. But as soon as Josh and Michelle saw that big, black and white American Staffordshire, they knew exactly who he was.
“I jumped up from the couch and was like, that's Tank! That's him!” Michelle told KSAT 12. “My son was really, really attached to Tank. So to hear what he went through and to see him like that, it was very emotional.” Josh, overcome with emotion after finally seeing his dog and what had been done to him, burst into tears.
After Michelle explained the situation to authorities, she was able to finally bring Tank home. She said when Tank first walked back into the house he seemed to remember where everything was, including his old toys. Now, safe and sound, Tank is being treated better than ever—he gets food from the table at dinnertime, and he even sleeps in Josh’s bed (sometimes putting the boy on the floor in the process). Michelle says Tank is primarily an inside dog now, and she has taken extra security measures to ensure that her dog won’t be stolen again.
Thankfully, it appears that Tank’s story, as well as that of Josh and Michelle, had a happy ending. Authorities said that the bullet that injured Tank had miraculously missed any blood vessels and exited clean out the other side, leaving no fragments behind. While Tank is still recovery from his injury, he has the love and compassion of his two biggest fans to help him through it.
Authorities are still investigating Tank’s case with the hope of bringing his thief and abuser to justice.