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March 12, 2012 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Saving Sergeant Rex: waiting warrior status.

Sit. (He did) Stay. (He did) Hope. (He does).

Semper fidelis.

The Marines got it from them. “Ever faithful”

Rex's Book. (Image Barnes and Noble website)

Rex's Book. (Image Barnes and Noble website)

Sergeant Rex waits his fate. His current status is listed below.

(Will resume regular blogging post after this last one.)

Megan Leavey hopes the red tape will end, Sgt. Rex will pass his final review, and is once again at her side. Rex’s 11th birthday is next month.

It won’t matter if he’s a tad unsteady. He’s got lots of wags left in that tail.

There’s a fenced yard with a swimming pool, and a friendly pack waiting to ease his way into retirement:  Rocky,(the 7 yrs shiba inu), and Patriot (4 yrs. working Labrador). Leavey still handles dogs, but with a private company. It will be a different life for a book celebrity and warrior, but he’s ready. And who better to understand any difficulties adjusting to civilian life than a fellow soldier?

Years of war and frequent deployments affect military working dogs just as they do humans according to Dr. Walter Burghardt, an army civilian and the Chief of Behavioral Medicine for military working dog studies at the Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland. (Articles about Dr. Burghardt and PTSD in military dogs or this article with video from NY Times).

Rex’s former handler retired Marine Sgt. Mike Dowling believes that Leavey’s history with Rex and her continued work as a dog trainer make her ideal. He talked about the pair during a book event Sunday in Arizona. “I think basically Rex is a combat wounded veteran, and I feel it’s only right that a combat wounded veteran should adopt him,” he said. “Megan has the experience, the background, the understanding and the room for him, and he certainly deserves this.”

Rex and Megan (Image from UK Daily Mail)

Is it crazy or what?

While the Air Force is in charge of military dogs’ training, the Army is in charge of the dogs’ vet care. And the dogs are with Marines….So many people involved!

 Sit. Phone. Persuade. Good Senator.

NY Senator Charles Schumer is trying to expedite the adoption paperwork for Rex’s adoption.

Please contact Senator Schumer and thank him for intervening on Sergeant Rex’s behalf.

  • Phone: 202. 224. 6542.
  • OR phone: 703. 571. 3343 and press number 5.  (Direct voicemail to the Department of Defense PAO who has access to the Secretary of the Air Force. Leave you name and number and respectfully request your message (to expedite process so Megan can rapidly adopt Sergeant REX) be given to the Secretary of the Air Force Michael B.Donley.
  • Website email: Connect with Chuck

Dog in training (Image: USAF by Robbin Cresswell)

They say, “Jump”. Dogs Fly.

Air Force has jurisdiction over Military Working Dog Program:

  • Send Letters to Air Force Top Dog:
    • Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force  1670 Air Force Pentagon, Washington, DC 20330-1670
    • Matthew Stines is press officer for the Air Force
  • Rex’s Current status according to Stines /Air Force:

    • An official request for retirement has been submitted,
    • Action on that request is expected to take about two weeks.
    • Rex is currently kenneled at Camp Pendleton
    • Military dogs aren’t commonly euthanized upon retirement except in cases where they have health or behavioral issues or are otherwise considered unadoptable.
    • Rex, 10 years old, has been diagnosed with facial palsy, which affects his equilibrium
    • Rex to be evaluated for “adoptability” at Camp Pendleton. (contact info)
    • Approval also has to come from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas
  • Lackland Air force Base: Official Adoption Website of the DoD Military Working Dog 

    • Phone for this San Antonio, TX location: 1-800-531-1066
    • FAX: 210-671-3402

Mr. John Engstrom, Adoption Disposition Coordinator

OR email on behalf of Cpl. Leavey and Sgt. Rex: http://www.lackland.af.mil/main/contactus.asp

ABC news video and story “War Veteran Dog Adoptions Rising, but They are Still Not Officially Recognized” 

They stood guard. Now Congress should reward! 

What about proposed legislation about military dogs?

(H.R.4103 & S.2134)

  • Make sure the Canine Members of Armed Forces Act passes
  •  Contact your senator or representative and tell them you support it
  • How to find your legislators: (sort by state)
  • Article About proposed legislation: “MWD’s no longer equipment under this bill”
  • Please contact your legislators and ask them to support HR bill 5314, which asks that military war dogs be reclassified from “Equipment” to “MWD Troop/Soldier.”
  • S. 2134, the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. This act if passed dog could be transferred to a military facility where the dog may be more easily adopted, provide veterinary care for them, and create military decorations for military dogs (Maybe the dogs will be happy with a new tennis ball, but this recognition of the dog’s efforts and worth would mean a great deal to their handlers.)
  • In 2010 over 2,800 active duty dogs were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Although dogs have been fighting along side soldiers since the civil war, they only became “official” in 1942.

War Dog. A photo essay.  (Yes, dogs do jump out of planes)

By Rebecca Frankel, Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent.

Other organizations:

Sign the “Save Sergeant Rex Petition” drive:   http://www.change.org/petitions/help-sgt-rex

News Video: “Care Packages for Our Military K-9 Friends” (See one adopted military dog and efforts to help the others with specialized equipment like cooling vests, cooling sleep pads, and booties.

Military Working Dog Foundation, inc.

Save-a-Vet       “Save-A-Vet helps rescue military & law enforcement working dogs & other service animals from being put down when their service to country & community is done, and to provide housing and relief for disabled veterans who help take care of them.”

US Military K-9 Fund website. (Read stories of handlers and dogs. See dogs in new booties, vests, goggles. Learn how to help.)

Military Working Dog Adoptions

Peace for paws

Peace for paws

Written by request of The German,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Related posts: 

“Saving Sergeant Rex”, “Update: Saving Sergeant Rex”

Click and explore the “German Shepherd” sidebar tag.

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24 Comments

  1. robincoyle / Mar 12 2012 9:09 pm

    Thanks for the update. Don’t be shy about posting info if you get more news about Rex! He has quite a fan club…

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 12 2012 9:18 pm

      Thanks – I worry people will have a sort attention spans with stories like this. The dog is at risk – old and must pass evaluation to live as a “civilian”. But pressure seems to be helping.

      Like

      • robincoyle / Mar 12 2012 9:29 pm

        No short attention span here when it comes to dog heroes!

        Like

  2. tj / Mar 12 2012 10:45 pm

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention! As an Army veteran and GSD owner, I thought it was important to make the time to email my Senator, Patty Murray. Keep us posted!

    Like

  3. MJ, Nonstepmom / Mar 13 2012 1:11 am

    Please keep us updated if you hear more !

    Like

  4. PiedType / Mar 13 2012 3:14 am

    “Equipment”!? Heresy. At the very least these dogs are companions and fellow soldiers. They deserve as much care and compassion in their retirement years as any two-legged soldier.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 13 2012 2:03 pm

      So easy for the dogs to get lost in all the shuffle. We found out a few years ago there is a line to adopt retired dogs – well worth it. Rex at his age should be a special case and should immediately released to Megan. (I do realize they must check for behavior issues/PTSD but she of all people would be able to cope with that.) Thanks for trotting by.

      Like

  5. Vikki (The View Outside) / Mar 13 2012 7:52 am

    I’ve signed the petition and posted this all over FaceBook 🙂

    xx

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 13 2012 2:04 pm

      Thanks for joining the pack. The more barking, the sooner this can be resolved? Appreciate your efforts.

      Like

  6. roughseasinthemed / Mar 13 2012 10:33 am

    Reblogged this on roughseasinthemed.

    Like

  7. pippadogblog / Mar 13 2012 11:43 am

    Reblogged this on Pippadogblog and commented:
    And again, pups and people, please read, help and take whatever action you can.

    Like

  8. Jeannie / Mar 13 2012 1:32 pm

    Keep the updates coming! The German deserves a meaty bone for his support!!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 13 2012 2:11 pm

      The German: “Thanks you for worrying about my distant cousin. He deserves a soft bed, a sunny spot, and a kind pat after all he has done. Paws crossed.”

      Like

  9. Ally Bean / Mar 13 2012 2:46 pm

    Yeah! Progress in the proper direction– toward compassion. I ❤ Rex. Good job philosophermouse.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 13 2012 3:40 pm

      Hopefully. Distrust “radio silence”. Would accept a political intervention / photo op at this point if it helps Rex. Thanks for joining in

      Like

  10. The Hook / Mar 13 2012 4:39 pm

    Very cool share!

    Like

  11. pix & kardz / Mar 14 2012 5:05 am

    Came here via pippadogblog. Any news? Looking forward to a good report sooooon!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 14 2012 2:13 pm

      Dogging the story. Looks to be buried right now. Trying to run it down. Reports ASAP once something is dug up. Thanks for trotting by and nosing around.

      Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 14 2012 11:47 pm

      There is sort of an update. The Senator has requested people sign a petition on his website. The Marine Times is featuring the story. (see post for links). Fox News is also urging action. paws crossed.

      Like

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