Ex-marine seeks to adopt former partner
Leavey served as the dog’s handler for more than three years until a roadside bomb blast in Ramadi, Iraq, took them out of commission in 2006, MSNBC reports.
“Rex is my partner; I love him,” said Leavey, 28, who lives with her father in Rockport, New York, and works as a dog handler. “We have been through so much together … I’ve spent day and night with this dog. It’s a very strong bond.”
Leavey first applied to adopt Sgt. Rex as she was completing her Marine Corps service in 2007, but the military determined the dog had recovered and should return to duty.
About a month ago, though, Leavey heard that Sgt. Rex had been deemed ready to retire after developing facial palsy, which was affecting his equilibrium. She again filed paperwork to adopt him.
“An official request for retirement has been submitted,” said Matthew Stines, press officer for the Air Force, which has jurisdiction over the Military Working Dog Program. He said that action on that request is expected to take about two weeks.
The dog still has to be evaluated for “adoptability” at Camp Pendleton, where he is now kenneled. Approval also has to come from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Military dogs aren’t commonly euthanized upon retirement — at least not anymore — except in cases where they have health or behavioral issues or are otherwise deemed unadoptable.
Leavey is hoping Sgt. Rex passes those tests, and that there’s an end to the red tape.
“(Rex) is just hanging out in his kennel,” Leavey said. “I know the Marine Corp has other more important issues. But it’s important to me. And he deserves it.”
Sgt. Rex is the subject of a 2011 book written by his first handler, Mike Dowling — “Sgt. Rex: The Unbreakable Bond between a Marine and his Military Working Dog.”
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is encouraging the the Air Force to act quickly to approve the adoption.
“Marine Corporal Leavey and Rex are true American heroes who saved countless American lives uncovering roadside bombs and booby traps in Iraq,” he said in a statement. “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, and Corporal Leavey can be reunited with her faithful companion.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, air force, animals, bomb, bomb-sniffing, bond, bureaucracy, camp pendleton, charles schumer, deployment, dog, dogs, evaluation, german shepherd, handler, iraq, K-9, k9, lackland, marines, megan leavey, military, military dog, pets, red tape, retired, rex, senator, sergeant rex, service, sgt. rex, working dog