UPDATE: War dog to reunite with former Marine

Aging U.S. military working dog Sgt. Rex has been cleared for adoption and will soon reunite with former U.S. Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey, his friend and former handler.

Megan Leavey (holding picture of Rex) and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Leavey served two six-month tours of duty in Iraq alongside Rex, a German Shepherd. The pair located roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In 2006, the two were injured together by an IED; wounded, Leavey and Rex spent a year in recovery, only to be separated in 2007.

Since their separation, Leavey has been petitioning the U.S. military to allow Rex to retire under her care. When Rex’s health and age prevented him from serving at Camp Pendleton, Leavey contacted U.S. Sen. Schumer (D-NY), hoping that his support would help expedite the adoption process. Leavey and Schumer launched a campaign for Rex’s release that gained press attention across the country; a petition on the senator’s website amassed over 20,000 signatures.

When word of the approved adoption came through, Schumer’s office expressed their gratitude, thanking everyone across the country who offered their support. “One canine, one human, both heroes,” Schumer’s office said. “They should be united shortly and we’re glad it’s happening.”

Leavey is overjoyed, and looking forward to seeing her best friend. “Rex and I went through a great deal together and I am just so grateful that we will be reunited again,” she said.

“We anticipate that as early as next week, Megan and the military working dog that goes by the name of Rex will be reunited,” said Capt. Barry Edwards, a spokesperson for the Marine base at Camp Pendleton. “We wish Rex all the best in his coming years of relaxation with Megan.”

Though looks like Rex and Leavey will finally have the happy ending they both deserve, there is still much to be done to help other U.S. military working dogs.

“While the cause of reuniting Corporal Leavey and Sergeant Rex has inspired a country, there are hundreds of military working dogs, like Rex that also will one day need to come back to caring homes,” Schumer said in an email Tuesday afternoon.

Schumer went on to express his support for the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, which, if passed, will streamline the adoption process for retired military working dogs. To join the senator in supporting this legislation, contact your U.S. senators and representatives today.