A bow hunter shot and killed a 12-year-old cancer victim's therapy dog in Wagoner County, Oklahoma, in mid-November (video below).
Shelby Shuffitt, who learned she had leukemia in May, told KOTV: "Me and [my grandfather Junior Gray] have our days out on Saturdays. And we saw Tank, and we looked at each other and we said, 'We've got to have him.'"
Tragedy struck when Shelby and Gray heard the dog, Tank, barking and whining.
"The first thing Shelby and I saw was the arrow just sticking straight out from between his eyes," Gray recalled.
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Tank died minutes later. His owners saw a bow hunter near their property.
Gray, a former pastor, spoke to the man: "I asked him, 'What happened?' He said, 'Your dog tried to bite me.'"
Gray insisted that Tank never would have done that, and smoked out the bow hunter's real motivation: "You knew you couldn't hunt deer with that dog, down here, barking."
"'I'll tell you what I'm going to do fella, I'm going to forgive you,'" Gray recalled telling the bow hunter. "I said, 'See that little girl standing over there?' And I said, 'That was her therapy dog.'"
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The bow hunter asked what he could do, and Gray told him to leave and think about what he'd done "not just to the dog, but breaking this poor girl’s heart."
Gray did not call the police or ask the bow hunter's name.
"That's going to be worse on him than anything else, if he has a true [conscience]," Gray stated.
"I just don't want to see this happen again," Shelby added.
Tenaciously Teal, an Oklahoma-based organization that helps cancer victims, will soon vote on providing Shelby with a new therapy dog.
The Tenaciously Teal website tells the story behind its founding:
Tenaciously Teal’s founder, Tarah Warren, was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer in the fall of 2012. Though filled with the determination to fight, she soon began to realize just how much strength it would take to maintain the tenacity to overcome a cancer diagnosis.