Iraqi Veteran Shouldn't Have to Fight to Adopt Her Hero Dog

Marine CorpsTranslated into English, the Marine Corps motto Semper Fidelis means "always faithful." So it's no wonder a US Marine who survived a roadside bomb in Iraq that ended her career is doing everything she can to be reunited with her faithful partner. What's confounding is why the corps has mired down the process in red tape. Maybe because Cpl. Megan Leavey's partner was a dog?

Rex was a bomb-sniffing dog, specifically, a German shepherd who served our country right beside the veteran for two straight tours of duty. But now that he's suffering a facial paralysis that's rendered him incompatible with military life, keeping them apart is coming off like a public relations nightmare for the armed forces. That red tape is more like a black eye!


To me, it seems like keeping these two apart flies in the face of a sector of the American government that's perhaps best known for its efforts to pull people together under one common goal (generally to fight enemies foreign and domestic). When I think the US armed forces, terms like "band of brothers" and "leave no man behind" come to mind. And of course there's that Marine Corps motto: it means once a Marine, always a Marine!

I made the mistake once, a long time ago, of asking an elderly man if he was a "former Marine." He set me straight immediately: there is no such thing. They are always Semper Fi.

That includes Leavey. She and Rex have been separated for five years -- not because she didn't care about her K-9 partner but because he was still combat ready even when that roadside bomb required a medical discharge. She could accept being separated because it was for the good of the Corps.

But now that Rex is out of the military, she is still faithful -- this time to him, her partner, the dog who helped her save lives. She's trying to keep him from being put to sleep! That's the kind of thing the Marines should be yelling from the rooftops, don't you think? Showing off the ever faithful spirit of their vets? Helping keep them together.

I'm going to go out on a big solid oaken limb here and make a bet. If these were two people coming back together after serving together in combat, no one would think anything of it. There are veterans groups all over this country because the tie that binds those who serve isn't broken by time.

I don't care how long it's been since Rex and Megan Leavey were last together. These two proud Marines deserve a chance to be together again. They were faithful to our country, now this county needs to return the favor.

How do you feel about the way the military treats its four-legged servicemembers?


Image via *Gunslinger*/Flickr

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