Stranger Set On Adopting Man’s Dog Gives Him A Note That Brings Him to Tears

Adoption is often most people’s first instinct when looking to bring a pet into their home, yet not many consider the prospect of fostering an animal first. Not only does fostering provide a needy dog or cat with a loving home, but it also allows families to get a feel for life as pet owners. But for some, however, caring for an animal only to eventually give it up is simply too difficult to bear.

Ann Hoang and her husband were certain they were ready to foster a rescue animal, yet as they grew closer to the needy dog, they realized giving him away would be harder than they thought. But when it was time to say goodbye, his new owner handed Mr. Hoang a note that brought everyone to tears.

Most auto mechanics are accustomed to the same thing day in and day out: cars, cars, and more cars. But on one particularly chilly winter’s day, the repairmen at one South Korean autobody were greeted by a sight with four paws instead of four wheels.

Standing in the doorway of their shop was a small black terrier mix, barely bigger than a puppy. And judging by his look, the little dog had been wandering the streets for quite some time.

@misscharlieandtobs / Instagram

The mechanics asked around to see if they could find the dog’s owner, but after a few hours of searching, it appeared he didn’t have one. Unable to keep the dog themselves, the repairmen brought him to a nearby animal shelter.

Chicago Tribune

Although the shelter was quick to take in the abandoned pup, things weren’t much better there. With all of the shelter’s indoor kennels occupied, the lonely terrier was forced to weather the winter cold in a cage outside.


That’s when Band for Animal stepped in. Though the rescue organization primarily focuses on saving animals from the brutal dog meat trade of Southeast Asia, they knew they couldn’t let this adorable dog spend another moment in that frigid kennel.


Knowing the dog’s best hope for finding a loving family would be overseas, Band for Animal took him first to their South Korean rescue center. Time was of the essence, however, so instead of seeking someone to adopt him outright, they tried placing the pup with a foster family in America.

@misscharlieandtobs / Instagram

As soon as the foster call went out, Ann Hoang and her husband answered it. The couple, who already had a dog of their own, wanted to see if they could handle caring for a second animal before adopting one for good.

@misscharlieandtobs / Instagram

When the dog arrived at the Hoang house, he was greeted by his new foster parents and foster sister Miss Charlie, a Shih Tzu-poodle mix. They called him Toby, hoping something as normal as a name would make his adjustment a little easier.

@misscharlieandtobs / Instagram

Unfortunately, it didn’t. Toby was hesitant to interact with his new family, hiding in his crate for most of his early days with the Hoangs. And even when he did come out, Toby just stood and stared, too wary of his surroundings to let his guard down.

The Dodo

Eventually, though, Toby began to warm up to his new family. He and Miss Charlie quickly bonded over a love of play, and at the end of each day, a tuckered-out Toby would find comfort in the arms of his foster mom.

@misscharlieandtoby / Instagram

Yet despite these attachments, the family member that Toby seemed to grow closest with was Hoang’s husband. And though he had had his own reservations about fostering the little dog at first, it was safe to say that Mr. Hoang had fallen in love with Toby too.

“At first, my husband was unsure of Toby because he was very timid and also this was our very first foster experience,” Hoang said. “However, by the [first] evening, Toby had sat down next to my husband and he looked up at him with his puppy dog eyes… Toby seemed to attach to my husband pretty quickly from there on out.”

The Dodo

But the Hoangs knew that Toby wouldn’t be theirs forever — after all, they were just his foster family. Sooner or later, Toby would find a forever home with another couple, though giving him up was not something the Hoangs were looking forward to doing.

@misscharlieandtobs / Instagram

 After just a week in their care, two families approached the Hoangs about adopting Toby. The couple had braced themselves for this day from the beginning, though it was Hoang’s husband that seemed to take this news the hardest.

The Dodo

“We had two families who wanted to schedule a meeting with Toby, and when that happened, I just realized how crushed my husband would be without him,” Hoang said. “It had only been one week but my husband and Toby were inseparable.”

@misscharlieandtobs / Instagram

When the adoption day arrived, Hoang and her husband were greeted by the dog’s adopter, who was more than thrilled to see what a loving and playful pup Toby had become. But instead of signing the adoption papers and taking Toby, she approached Hoang’s husband and handed him a card.

Steven Casey / YouTube

As Mr. Hoang read it over, his eyes immediately welled with tears. He grabbed Toby and hugged him tightly, beginning to sob as the dog curled into his chest.

Steven Casey / YouTube

Toby had been adopted alright — and it was the Hoangs who’d done it! Surmising how upset her husband would be over losing Toby, Hoangreached out to Band for Animal and requested to adopt him herself. The organization loved the idea, and so they sent an adoption rep disguised as an adopter.

Steven Casey / YouTube

Though he was only supposed to be with the Hoangs temporarily, Toby’s forever home had been right under his nose the whole time. “No one expected we would be a foster fail for the first time around,” Hoang said, “but it was so meant to be.”

Steven Casey / YouTube

It takes a special kind of person to open their heart to an animal in need, but not all adopted animals come from shelters. Melissa Ringstaff and her family, for instance, never expected an ordinary day trip to become an opportunity to save a life.

A Virtuous Woman

The Ringstaff family has a motto: “We can’t save the world, but we can do something about the one in front of us.” And when it comes to animals, that’s truly the motto they live by.

Melissa Ringstaff / Facebook

The motto regularly encouraged the family to help animals. They often scooped up lost animals wandering Harlan, Kentucky, fed them and found their homes. Such was the case with a certain Great Pyrenees…

Melissa Ringstaff / Facebook

Early on a Saturday morning, the Ringstaff family cruised down the highway, a 2-hour drive ahead. But in the opposite lane, they noticed a great, hulking dog, below, lying still in the road. Cars swerved to avoid him.

The Ringstaffs were concerned that the dog had been hit by a car. Melissa’s husband Mykal, a pastor, flipped on the car’s hazards lights and pulled the truck over. They got out of the vehicle to inspect the canine.

Melissa Ringstaff / Facebook; Melissa Ringstaff / YouTube

But as soon as Melissa and her gang stepped into the road the dog stood up and walked over to them, curiously showing no sign of injury. It was then Melissa saw the heartbreaking reason the dog was staying so still…

Off in the ditch lining the highway, another dog had been hit by a car. Tragically, he didn’t live to tell the tale. By the looks of it, the dog in the road had been guarding his fallen friend. The sight “broke my heart,” Melissa wrote.

The Ringstaffs tried luring the dog into their truck, but he refused to leave his friend behind. Heartbroken, the family left the stubborn pooch for the moment (they were, after all, on a day trip). But ten hours later, they returned.

Melissa Ringstaff / Facebook

The dog hadn’t left, though he’d moved out of the road. So, committed to saving the world in front of them, the Ringstaffs hoisted the massive dog into their truck. Like so many other lost dogs, they’d find his home, too.

Melissa Ringstaff / YouTube

But as the Ringstaffs drove with the dog in their truck, searching for the collarless dog’s home, local after local told the same story—one as tragic as the lost dog’s situation.

Melissa Ringstaff / YouTube

Those dogs, the locals explained, belonged to someone who moved away. They left the dogs behind to fend for themselves, leading to one’s demise. The abandoned and lonely Great Pyrenees had no home to return to.

Worse, the dogs had apparently been living on the side of the highway for a couple of days. So, hearts broken once more, the animal-loving Melissa and her family knew what they had to do: make this dog’s world a better place.

The Ringstaffs brought the dog home, fed him, bathed him, and gave him a haircut. When night fell, she led him to a brand new kennel. But the dog didn’t sleep.

Melissa Ringstaff / YouTube

Instead, he broke from the kennel in the dead of night and disappeared from the Ringstaff home. The second Melissa spotted the kennel with a now-broken door, the family went out searching for him. It should’ve been easy. It’s not like the big dog was in disguise…

All day, the Ringstaffs searched, asking everyone they passed if they’d seen an enormous dog teetering along. They drove to the Humane Society and police stations. They couldn’t find the Great Pyrenees anywhere.

Melissa Ringstaff / Facebook

In fact, the Ringstaffs spent three days looking for the dog, putting over 100 miles on their car driving around the small Kentucky town. Finally, they spotted the pooch.

Just a few miles from the Ringstaff home, the pooch sat on a stranger’s porch, happy to see Melissa and her kids! The next day, Melissa bought him dog tags—with his new name.

At first, inspired by the 2009 film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, below, they called him Hachi. Like the dog in the film Melissa wrote, “we’d found him loyally staying with his buddy who died.” But they ultimately chose a happier name.

“In the end,” Melissa wrote, “we named him Tucker.” Though simple, the name somehow perfectly fit the dog’s personality. “He’s incredibly sweet, very gentle, and we’ve yet to hear him bark.” He’s Tucker. And he’s a Ringstaff.

Melissa Ringstaff / YouTube

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