DALLAS, March 15, 2012 – Corporal Megan Leavey, a Marine dog-handler and combat veteran has been tireless in her efforts to adopt, “Sergeant Rex”, the military service dog that has followed her lead from Camp Pendleton, Calif., to Iraq. With recent support from Washington and the online community, Corporal Leavey may finally get her wish.
Since 2007, she has attempted to adopt Rex. At first her request was denied. Rex was still a valuable asset to the military. That changed when he was diagnosed with facial palsy, which prevents him from further service.
Currently, 10-year old Rex sits in an Air Force kennel at Lackland Air Force base awaiting his fate, which Leavey fears may be euthanasia.
“Not because he’s too sick to live a good life, but because they can’t utilize him so it wouldn’t make sense for them to keep a dog they’re not going to work at the kennels.” Leavey says. “I don’t want to let that happen.”
“An incredible bond can forged between humans in and this translates to working animals as well. I am sure combat only increases that bond ten-fold,” says a Dallas volunteer that gives her time to local adoption agencies seeking to find homes for working dogs. “Leavey exemplifies this in every way.”
Her dedication to Sgt. Rex is heart-warming and relentless; they have endured incredible events together. During two tours of duty spanning six months and 100 combat missions, this pair served the Marine Corps with tireless commitment. They repeatedly survived arms fire and mortar attacks, until both were severely injured when an IED exploded near them.
Leavey, a Purple Heart and combat valor recipient, recovered from her injuries with Rex at her side.
“I’ve taken care of him. He’s taken care of me. It’s just a bond you can’t break,” Leavey told CBS. “I’ve spent every waking moment with that dog.”
When the news arrived that Sgt. Lex was diagnosed with facial palsy, Leavey increased her solicitations to the appropriate parties, receiving not response. Out of desperation and fear that endless bureaucratic red-tape would sentence Sgt. Rex to an unnecessarily early death, Leavey reached out to veteran’s organizations, eventually catching the attention of Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).
“The story of Marine Cpl. Leavey and Sgt. Rex is inspiring a nation, and it’s vital that the United States Air Force move as quickly as possible to reunite Sgt. Rex with his former partner,” Mr. Schumer says.
Schumer, in his letter to the secretary of the Air Force Mr. Michael B. Donley, explains that Leavey and Rex saved countless lives, endured unfathomable situations and came out alive – together.
Schumer has launched a nationwide online petition to be delivered to the Secretary of the Air Force requesting that they approve the adoption request before it’s too late.
Within 24 hours, it received over 10,000 signatures.
“They deserve to be reunited after risking their lives to make sure our troops stayed as safe as possible when traveling roads littered with IED’s,” Schumer said in a statement issued Thursday. “I’m strongly urging the Air Force to do the right thing, cross the T’s and dot the I’s so that Rex gets the home he deserves.”
Leavey has been overwhelmed by the support, but is greatful and hopes the Air Force will do the right thing. “It’s amazing,” Leavey said. “I can’t even explain how happy I am that all this has happened. I really am hopeful about the outcome.”
With the public engaged in such a beautiful story, with Senator Charles Schumer throwing his weight behind the endeavor, and an online petition now going viral, Corporal Leavey may get her wish.
Reuniting these two Marines is the least the public can do for them. If you would like to get involved, please considering sharing Corporal Leavey and Sgt. Rex’s story, contact your legislators and request their support for these two heroes, and sign Senator Schumer’s petition to save Sgt. Rex.
Petition: Saving Sgt. Rex
Marine Corporal Megan Leavey, a decorated Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)veteran, served as a handler for Military Working Dog ‘Sgt. Rex’ during her two deployments in Iraq in 2005 and 2006. During their two deployments to Iraq,Corporal Leavey and Sgt. Rex worked together to save countless lives as they scoured the war’s most dangerous regions, uncovering deadly explosives, IEDs, weapons caches and suicide bombers. Both were severely injured in 2006 when insurgents detonated an IED at the side of the road they were patrolling. Corporal Leavey was awarded the Purple Heart and a Combat Valor Medal, and the pair spent the next year recovering together from their injuries.
While Corporal Leavey retired from the Marine Corps in 2007, Rex continued working with other members of the military, making the Iraq landscape safer for our soldiers. Now that Sgt. Rex has reached 10-years of age, he no longer is able to work in active duty and is being classified as “excess”, which would allow him to be adopted and reunited into a permanent home – ideally with his former partner, Marine Corporal Leavey. While Corporal Leavey has completed the application for adoption, the application still requires additional information from the United States Airforce and has not yet been approved.
We, the undersigned Americans, urge the Department of the Air Force to immediately approve Corporal Leavey’s application for adoption of her former brother-in-arms, Sgt. Rex. At ten years old, and after multiple tours of duty, time is of the essence. We implore the U.S. Airforce to expedite Corporal Leavey’s application and ensure that these two war heroes are reunited so that Sgt. Rex can share the rest of his days with the one person who knows him best and is deeply bonded with him.
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