April 10, 2010
By Cpl. Michelle S. Brinn, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Former Cpl. Megan Leavey wanted nothing more than to reunite with her best friend, and her wish finally came true at Camp Pendleton’s K-9 Unit, April 6.
Military Working Dog Rex retired after 10 years of service and was officially released into Leavey’s care so they can continue their friendship that was once formed during their Marine Corps career.
“Hopefully his last days will be happy,” said Leavey. “He’ll have a big fenced in backyard to play in with a ton of toys and a nice, comfortable dog bed. He might even just sleep in bed with me. I can’t wait to bring him home.”
Leavey left the Marine Corps in Dec. 2007, and had initially submitted the adoption paperwork, but was denied since Rex could still perform his duties for Camp Pendleton. However, Rex was recently diagnosed with facial paralysis, so his days as a MWD were unfortunately put to a halt.
“We served in two combat deployments together, so we have quite a history,” explained Leavey, referencing a time when insurgents detonated an Improvised Explosive Device near them in Iraq, and both of them were injured. Rex and Leavey had recovered from their injuries, and Rex was returned to service. “You just have a special bond with your personal [MWD]. We did everything together and he was at my side 24/7.”
Leavey said that during their deployments, Rex saved many people’s lives, including her own, mostly looking for IEDs. Throughout his career, Rex provided over 11,575 hours of military support consisting of searching over 6,220 vehicles during random anti-terrorism searches in Iraq.
Leavey continued her passion of being a dog handler after the Marine Corps and now works for an independent contractor in New York with her new working dog, Patriot. So now when the two return home, Rex will have a new friend to play with.
Leavey and Patriot have provided security at the Yankee Stadium during baseball games and concerts. After hearing of Leavey’s struggle to adopt Rex, Randy and Mindy Levine, owners of the Yankees, intervened.
“My husband and I are both dog lovers,” said Mindy Levine. “I think Megan really represents women in the military very well. She’s a great role model. The New York Yankees are very proud of Megan and we’re grateful for all the service that she and Rex have done for our country.”
Mr. and Mrs. Levine have both agreed to pay for all medical expenses that Rex may need for the rest of his life.
Leavey plans to return to New York April 8, except this time; not without her best friend.