ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A combat dog will finally be reunited in retirement with an ex-Marine handler from Rockland County with whom it was wounded in Iraq.
Senator Charles Schumer announced Monday night that the Air Force agreed to release Sgt. Rex into the care of former Cpl. Megan Leavey.
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“You don’t know the number of steps that you have to go through — and they’re all over the country and the papers have to be sent here and there. It’s ridiculous,” Schumer told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.
Leavey was injured with Rex in 2006 while trying to disarm an explosive. They convalesced together. Rex is credited with saving lives and uncovering explosives that saved more.
“Rex and I — we went through a great deal together. You know, we were injured together,” Leavey said.
Schumer had intervened when Leavey, a Purple Heart recipient, was first denied in her effort to adopt Rex in 2007. Rex and Leavey had recovered from their injuries, and Rex was returned to service.
Now Rex, a black and brown German Shepherd, is 10 years old and can’t continue his military service, but Schumer said bureaucracy still stood in the way of the adoption.
“We salute the Air Force and the Marines for doing the right thing and allowing Rex to be with Corporal Leavey,” Schumer said Monday night. “One canine, one human, both heroes. They should be united shortly, and we’re glad it’s happening.”
Schumer, a Democrat, had sought to help Leavey cut through red tape to reunite the pair. He also started a national online petition to help persuade the Air Force to act quicker.
“It’s only appropriate and right that the two of them enjoy their retirement from the service together,” Schumer said. “I again want to thank the Air Force and Marines for moving so quickly, and I want to thank the thousands of New Yorkers and Americans who showed their support online.”
Leavey will be flying out to California soon to pick Rex up.
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