Marine Successful in Fight to Adopt Military Dog

A woman who served in Iraq for more than three years is now fighting bureaucratic red tape to save the German Shepherd she survived a roadside bomb blast with.

Megan Leavey and Rex

Update (3/19/12) Rex and Megan Leavey will soon be reunited.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said the Air Force has indicated that it will release Sgt. Rex in the near future, when he’ll finally have a chance to resume his life with former Cpl. Megan Leavey.

Schumer had originally taken an interest in the case when the Purple Heart recipient began her quest to adopt Sgt. Rex in 2007, and his recent pressure by means of a public petition drive seems to have finally put an end to a conflict that never should have existed.

“We salute the Air Force and the Marines for doing the right thing and allowing Rex to be with Corporal Leavey,” Schumer said last evening. “One canine, one human, both heroes. They should be united shortly, and we’re glad it’s happening.”

–end update–

Retired military dog handler Megan Leavey, 28, and her military dog Rex both spent a year in rehabilitation after they were nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Ramadi in 2006. After serving on more than 100 missions together, the pair formed a tremendous bond. Now Leavey wants to bring him home.

“He’s done his duty. It’s time for him to relax,” Leavey says.

Leavey has been trying to adopt Rex since being discharged from the military in December 2007. More than fours years later, he still waits for her in a kennel at Camp Pendleton. He was recently diagnosed with facial palsy and can no longer serve, and Leavey wants to adopt him before he is euthanized.

“This is not (the Marines) first priority. A lot of times it gets lost in the shuffle,” Leavey said in an interview with MyFox New York.

She says time is running out for the faithful dog. Fortunately, she has found political help that may finally turn the tables in a long, drawn out effort to save her former partner. Sen. Charles Schumer has stepped in and taken an interest in the case. He has requested that the military expedite Leavey’s application to adopt Sergeant Rex before he is put to sleep.

“The Marines don’t have a reason against reuniting them, it’s just a slow bureaucracy,” Shumer says.

Meanwhile, Rex waits. And Megan Leavey worries. “It’s life or death,” she says.


  1. Anne says on  03/10/2012 at 8:58 pm

    Jeesh, breaks my heart.

  2. Rachel says on  03/10/2012 at 8:58 pm

    How sad after serving his country to get put down! Who better to care for him than her,sad if they put this dog down after all that.

  3. RED TAPE!!!! That is terrible..she should have been given first option to adopt the dog…no questions asked… that is so sad….

    • Anonymous says on  03/12/2012 at 4:48 pm


    • Anonymous says on  03/14/2012 at 9:39 am

      yes I agree 500%% with you penny I am and will still be praying to god that they both get to be reunited again cuz this sweet baby boy or sweet babygirl deserves a chance at a loving home and life just like any other dogs and cats too we all just have to have faith and trust into the lord that they will be reunited to be together again i have all the trust and faith in the good lord up abouve that god will take care of everything and they will be reunited together forever and god will make that happen only god and forsee the future and only god knows wat to do and i have no worries because god it the ALPHA THE OMEGA THE BEGINNING AND THE END HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN REUNITE THESE TWO 2 WONDERFULL PEOPLE TOGETHER HER AND THE GERMEN SHEPARD TOO HUGS AND GOD BLESS LAURIE AND CHLOE……..

  4. I’m glad you guys posted this to get the word out. I saw it on fox news recently.
    I hope something can be done to help move along the process and save that baby. They deserve to spend their lives together.

  5. Jackie says on  03/10/2012 at 9:00 pm

    Hope they’re reunited soon….

  6. Damn to HELL the Bureaucratic Red Tape! Bring this HERO home!

  7. That’s one bond NO ONE will break.

  8. Heather says on  03/10/2012 at 9:01 pm

    i cant believe they will not let her have him, she should have had him when she was discharged that is crazy

  9. God Bless

  10. Debbie says on  03/10/2012 at 9:02 pm

    now that’s just WRONG!!! DAMN, she has to FIGHT to get the DOG that SURVIVED A ROADSIDE BOMB WITH???? WTF is going on here, just wrong……..

  11. Debbi says on  03/10/2012 at 9:02 pm

    Find a loophole! Request to “foster” him while the bureaucracy grinds away!

  12. Seriously, why does this always have to be so friggin hard? For the love of God, can the government ever, ever not make a mountain out of a mole hill? Bring the damn dog home, for goodness sake. Give him and his mom some well-deserved peace.


  14. Angela says on  03/10/2012 at 9:03 pm

    OMG!!! they belong together!!!

  15. Why can’t she adopt him? Other servicemen adopt pets from their tour. Especially the ones that helped them get thru the really tough times. Call Barack! I’m sure he’ll understand.

  16. Lindsay says on  03/10/2012 at 9:04 pm

    Let her keep the dog!!! They both deserve it

  17. The 2 deserve to be together! They fought, if you will, together and the dog deserves a good life and not death for no reason!

  18. Can’t stand Alsatians……only dog I don’t like, but this is sad, let her adopt him FFS!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Paul says on  03/10/2012 at 9:06 pm

    There is no logical reason to put down a perfectly healthy, well-trained dog when there is someone who has been through the hell these two have been through together who wants to keep him. Wise up, bureaucratic @$$ holes. You’ve already wasted more than 4 years on this.

  20. Is there anything the Life With Dogs people can do ?????

  21. I don’t understand why she wouldn’t be able to adopt this dog …. what kind of red tape would prevent this? What a shame!

  22. This should be a no brainer! Why so many years? OMG! horrible. I hope she gets the dog!

  23. Should there even be a question about this? Geez!

  24. well at least Chucky is on the correct side of an issue for a change!!

  25. Carol says on  03/10/2012 at 9:08 pm

    2 veterans.

  26. Carol says on  03/10/2012 at 9:09 pm

    enough said.

  27. Karen says on  03/10/2012 at 9:09 pm

    Wait a damn minute!! Is the unit with The Boys of 3/5??? Hey boys, make it a helping priority, dudes! Camp Pendleton boo hoos all of the time they don’t get any recognition. Well, they have our attention now. I see men get their dogs all of the time. Why not women dog handlers?

  28. We got this early this morning.. It’s wrong to keep them apart.. I know with all of us we all can make this happen.!! ~Kristie

  29. the marines have every right to put a STOP TO THIS!!! MURDER!!!!! they have the upper hand over those ANIMAL SHELTER PEOPLE!! those marines can go straight to the Authorities or just take the dog, I would. SAVE THE DOGS LIFE. HE DONT DESERVE TO DIE. PLEASE MILITARY MEN OR WOMEN, SAVE THESE ANIMALS THAT ARE PUTTING ON DEATH ROW, THIS DOG DESERVES A HOME ON THE MARINE BASE. <3

  30. Tabitha says on  03/10/2012 at 9:10 pm

    Oh that poor poor woman, what a sad thing. And what a poor return for her bravery.

  31. LIZ says on  03/10/2012 at 9:11 pm

    Whats the holdup???? If he wants to adopt this beautiful dog, then let him, for God sake!!!!!!!!

  32. Rommey says on  03/10/2012 at 9:11 pm

    Give her friggin dog already!

  33. Gloria says on  03/10/2012 at 9:11 pm

    She should have been given him as soon as he was retired.

  34. Margaret says on  03/10/2012 at 9:12 pm

    This is sad.. Fort Bliss in El Paso Texas has band all service dogs on base. These are service dogs for our soldiers that fought in the war and have PTS and now they are banning them..

  35. Jerry says on  03/10/2012 at 9:14 pm

    Breaks my heart.

  36. Rj says on  03/10/2012 at 9:15 pm

    She deserves the dog more than anyone else.

  37. Military needs to think that one over. No respect for anything.

  38. David says on  03/10/2012 at 9:15 pm

    Wake up America! This is the government we have submitted ourselves to. A dog, a good dog!

  39. Mary says on  03/10/2012 at 9:18 pm

    If they kill this dog, it will prove to me that all politicians are lying @$#!!! Give the dog to the soldier, for God’s sake!!

  40. Four years is a long time to lose within the lifespan of a dog.

  41. Barbara says on  03/10/2012 at 9:22 pm

    Oh come on…You should definately be able to have this BEAUTIFUL DOG…whywould they”put him to sleep” when his partner loves him & WANTS him…Best of luck to both of them..Really HOPE & PRAY he gets to be with her & live a well deserved retirement :)

  42. It infuriates me that these dogs are almost always put down “after their service”. They are perfectly good dogs-nothing is usually wrong with them and honestly even if they did have something not quite right who cares! If ahe wants to adopt the dog she should be able to!

  43. Teri says on  03/10/2012 at 9:22 pm

    Yes, military can be slow. Prayers going up for a quick adoption

  44. Hopefully common sense prevails and he is allowed a comfortable retirement after working tirelessly for the marines for so long. Good on her for wanting to look after her faithful partner now he can no longer work

  45. THANK YOU Sen Schumer!

  46. Judy says on  03/10/2012 at 9:28 pm

    Freaking Govt. Dillholes!

  47. Anonymous says on  03/10/2012 at 9:33 pm

    Sgt. Rex is a war hero. Let him out of the cage.

  48. Mavis says on  03/10/2012 at 9:33 pm

    What is WRONG with people? Why would anyone want to stop this adoption?

  49. Philip says on  03/10/2012 at 9:37 pm

    would be such good PR for the Mlitary and the Government, just another reason why politics sucks at times, 2 Veteran’s who would greatly benifit for being together.

  50. Tracy says on  03/10/2012 at 9:53 pm


  51. Georgia Koenig says on  03/10/2012 at 9:55 pm

    This is UNBELIEVABLE! I understand that bureaucracy is SLOW but this precious, brave, heroic dog who nearly lost his life, along with his beloved handler, is NEARING THE END OF HIS LIFE! They don’t live as long as humans, this MUST BE UNDERSTOOD AT CAMP PENDLETON! Thank GOD for one of my most favorite Senators, Senator Charles Shumer of New York for stepping in to try and get these two war weary heroes back together! This is inexcusable, really! The dog should have been DISCHARGED AT THE SAME TIME, FOR GOODNESS SAKES! Come on U.S. Marine Corps, show what the Corps really stands for – SHOW SOME COMPASSION AND GIVE THESE 2 HEROES THE REUNION AND LIFE TOGETHER THEY BOTH HAVE EARNED, SERVING THEIR COUNTRY IN THE WAR. Send the dog home to his “Mom” NOW, TODAY!!! I cannot even BELIEVE that this poor dog has been sitting, waiting, in a kennel for nearly FIVE YEARS, while Megan, his former handler, was discharged after recovering from nearly being killed, with Rex alongside her, by the roadside bomb in 2006 – she was discharged, according to this story, in 2007, WHY NOT REX???? Five years could basically be well over HALF OF THIS DOG’S ENTIRE LIFE!!! Do you wait until he DIES, ALONE IN THAT KENNEL!!! Send him HOME TO MEGAN NOW, TODAY!!!

  52. Jean says on  03/10/2012 at 9:55 pm

    he could have had a loving home for almost 5 years already!

  53. MOVE

  54. Everyone should have their dog and no dog deserves to be put down I’m mad…skip the red people, this man has a friend

  55. Ann says on  03/10/2012 at 10:01 pm

    There is an organization called the Puppy Rescue Mission. They deal exclusively with bringing home dogs from the war zone. They have a page on FB.

  56. Brian says on  03/10/2012 at 10:08 pm

    This beautiful dog served his country well. Let him have his R&R. They have both earned it. Semper Fi!

  57. EKessen says on  03/10/2012 at 10:08 pm

    They have served their country above and beyond. You must do the only right and humane thing. Send Sgt.Rex home to be with Corporal Megan Leavey.

  58. [email protected] says on  03/10/2012 at 10:27 pm

    Megan and Rex,

    Hi I was a Marine for 7 years and then a Police Officer for 9 years. I was a K-9 handler as a cop. I got hurt while serving as a K-9 handler for the city I worked for. I did fight for keeping my partner after my injury due to our time together. I did end up keeping my K-9 partner Nitro, after a long and ugly fight with the city. I did have to end up paying $1500.00 to keep him, but it was well worth it as I knew he was not going to be able to adjust to a new handler. Please keep up your fight if you know as I did that your partner is not going to adjust to a new handler, as I knew Nitro would not. I was able to get many donations to help cover the the money, $1500.00. the Chief of Police required for me to keep the “piece of equpiment” that “would be put down, if he din’t adjust to a new handler”. So I did win this fight as I hope you will. Actually my fight made front page headlines in my small community. I hope you and your partner will live a peaceful end as did me and Nitro who has since passed, but was able to enjoy a flipping great retirement.

    God Bless,

    Steve and Nitro

    • You sir (& Nitro) I have much admiration for and am grateful for your service as a marine & K-9 officer. I am also thankful you shared your personal story and for never giving up on your partner no matter how big the hurdles.

    • Anonymous says on  03/11/2012 at 6:32 am

      Oh how wonderful, it also says alot about you. Thank you for your love and devotion. You served your country, and also being a Police officer, this day and age, they are not appreciated. I do believe in law and order. So thank you for all your great service. My admiration goes to you. God Bless you always. Sorry though to hear about your beloved friend passing.

  59. Devastating that an issue even exists here.

    Please take the time to sign the petition;

  60. CARA says on  03/10/2012 at 11:35 pm

  62. Seems silly to me. To have spent all that time , effort and money to heal him of his wounds…..just to kill him later! . Especially when there is a loving home being offered.
    I am from UK and the World is watching to see just how the USA treats its heroes.!

  63. Tracey says on  03/11/2012 at 8:17 am

    I hope that this dog gets to go home. The military really needs to take better care of the animals it uses. I hope with eyes of the world watching that they start doing just that.

  64. Barbara says on  03/11/2012 at 10:14 am

    Is this how we ( Americans) should Treat & Support our Returning Veterans even if they earn Medals – Just put them Down ? Our Soldiers fight & lay down their lives for our Country, they consider it a Right & priviledge to do so
    and Rex is NO different than the Soldiers who have served in the Marines, Army,Navy, Airforce and any other Branch of the Military. He Deserves to be treated with the same Respect & Honors and given the same Treatment as
    everyone else who has Faithfully Served this Country. There is Much too Much Red Tape and too Many People making wrong decisions. I Sincerely Hope that this time Rex is Returned to Megan to live out the rest of his life
    Free, Happy & Healthy with her. GOOD LUCK!

  65. Greg Matt says on  03/11/2012 at 10:55 am

    I feel that this is one way that may help…

    Sir: I wanted to send you this important video.

    Mr President:
    After viewing this news video, I feel that it is the upmost importance that this Marine who was injured and her K-9 Rex should be reunited. They both served Our Country and should be allowed the Right to be together so that Rex can be with the one person that he knows and can trust. The Loyalty between a handler and K-9 knows no bounds.
    Thank you Mr President
    Greg Matt
    Kingston Wa.

  66. April Wagner says on  03/11/2012 at 2:48 pm

    Rex needs to live out his life with his partner, Megan. How could anyone even think differently. Wake up, people and start thinking from your heart.

  67. Lesley Dipple says on  03/11/2012 at 3:36 pm

    Ted Wright has said it America the world is watching. Do the right thing and let this dog end his life with some one who loves him, he didn’t choose to go to war but he still selflessly did his duty now he should get his reward.

  68. Debi Bel says on  03/12/2012 at 2:11 am

    Has anyone taken note of the prior posts for this article? We CAN do something rather than tell each other how awful this situation is. We can call the Senator who is finally inquiring about expediting the military’s deathly slow process and we can go to a page on FB (Puppy Rescue Mission) that is organized to bring our military dogs home! Let’s DO something positive! If we each make that one phone call or that ONE letter, email, conversation….just ONE ACTION each we might see some real results. It is a fact that those who live in this country still have freedom of speech and political rights. We haven’t lost the ability to make a difference yet. If you believe in this cause, then stand up and DO SOMETHING to make your voice heard.

  69. karenc says on  03/12/2012 at 7:00 am

    How about if we as american voters decide to euthanize our government workers once they reach a certain age. These dogs have been with there handlers and went through how much with them? AND our own government dont want them to stay with there handlers? I say B/S. These dogs and there handlers protect us (you and i) and they deserve to stay together. Everyone should write there senators;congressman;governor and even the president until this law is changed. These dogs and there handlers go through so much together so they should have the chance to stay together!

  70. Anonymous says on  03/12/2012 at 2:22 pm
  71. jennifer says on  03/13/2012 at 10:59 am

    I just heard from the The Barking Barracks that apparently there is precedent for this. According to this article, President George W. Bush signed into law that a solider could adopt their K9 partner if they had been injured in combat together. Interesting, this dog was named Rex also:

  72. Matt says on  03/13/2012 at 12:46 pm

    That email address is to the Lackland AFB, TX Public Affairs Office. Marine Military Working Dogs are based at Quantico, VA. I applaud your efforts but the Air Force has “no dog in this”, so the e-mails are falling upon deaf ears.

  73. Philip Kolski says on  03/14/2012 at 3:50 pm

    Reunite Rex with Megan.
    Phil Kolski

  74. Great news!…please equate “near future” with ASAP since Sgt. Rex has limited precious time left!!!

  75. Tammy says on  03/20/2012 at 10:21 am

    How soon is “near future” ??? Post details on what we can do to speed it up to “Today” !!!

  76. Roger says on  03/20/2012 at 1:42 pm

    They should never have been seperated in the first place!!!

  77. Karen says on  03/20/2012 at 2:35 pm

    I do not understand why Rex would be euthanized. There are approximately 300-400 civilians who are willing to take MWDs even with disabilities, such as myself. Shouldn’t those options be exchausted before the killing of what amounts to one of our country’s vets? Hey, anyone listening out there, I and hundreds will take disabled four legged vets. Just contact us!

  78. Anonymous says on  01/01/2013 at 8:34 pm

    What happened after 20 mar 12? Why do news events seldom finish a news worthy article with follow up stories. Inquiring minds do want to know.

  79. Anonymous says on  01/01/2013 at 8:51 pm

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