As many of you may know, I have a special place in my heart for German shepherds.
As a proud daughter and granddaughter of military men, I also have a special place in my heart for all those who serve.
Our military dogs perform heroic service. Click here to see an amazing slide show by Foreign Policy magazine photojournalist Rebecca Frankel.
I support Military Working Dog Adoptions.
I support the United States War Dogs Association
And I support Rex and Cpl. Leavey.
Rex served honorably.
What Rex has done.
Now, the clock is ticking for Rex.
On March 13, which is Military Dogs Appreciation Day, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York announced a petition drive to bring Rex to Corporal Leavey, who is a New Yorker.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer launched an online petition today to urge the United States Air Force to reunite Sergeant Rex, a military working dog, with his former partner, Iraq War veteran Corporal Megan Leavey, with whom he helped identify and disable roadside bombs in Iraq. Megan Leavey, a former marine, worked with Sergeant Rex to hunt down and disarm improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq in order to keep American soldiers safe.
Office of Senator Charles Schumer.
Leavey and Sgt. Rex were severely injured when an IED exploded, abruptly ending their tours in Iraq and forcing them into rehabilitation. Since returning to the United States, Leavey has attempted to adopt Sgt. Rex, but she was initially turned down in 2007 since Rex was still deemed able to work. But once it became known that Sgt. Rex, now 10 years old, was unable to work and would soon be retired from service, Leavey renewed her efforts. Leavey, who currently works as a dog handler in Rockland County, has yet to be approved to adopt Rex and is still working through the military bureaucracy to finalize the adoption.
Last week, in a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force, Michael B. Donley, Schumer urged him to expedite the process to reunite Rex and Leavey as quickly as possible, particularly because the dog is already 10 years old and in declining health.
"The story of Marine Corporal Leavey and Sergeant 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," said Schumer. "The ‘Saving Sgt. Rex’ petition will bolster the effort to bring attention to this worthwhile cause, and I am urging all Americans to sign-up and show their support; we asked a lot more of Corporal Leavey and Sgt. Rex, who put their lives on the line for us time-and-again – reuniting them now is the least we can do."
During their two deployments to Iraq, Marine Corporal Megan 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. Marine Corporal Leavey was awarded the Purple Heart and a Combat Valor Medal, and the pair spent the next year recovering together from their injuries. She retired from the Marine Corps in 2007, while Rex continued working with other members of the military. Now that Rex has reached 10 years of age, he is unable to work and will soon be classified as "excess," which is the first step towards eventual adoption into a permanent home, which Marine Corporal Leavey has offered to provide.
The Air Force has requested a completed application from Corporal Leavey before any adoption can be considered. But, while Marine Corporal Leavey has completed what she is able of the application, there are several areas that require action by the Air Force for an application to be considered complete.
In four days, the petition has received almost 18,000 signatures. Let’s make it 20,000 this weekend. You can sign the petition here.
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. Air Force 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.
It’s just one dog. It’s just one Marine.
Our support can make a difference for both of them.
Special thanks to kossacks cas and davidseth for their great earlier diaries in support of Cpl. Leavey and Rex!