In Saturdays 3/10/12 New York Post there was an article entitled "Ex-Marine's dog of war"
It outlined the fight an Ex Marine, Megan Leavey, was waging with the Armed Forces to bring Rex, the dog she handled on 100 missions as a bomb sniffing expert while on tour in Iraq, home. The dog was recently diagnosed with facial palsy. Leavey wants to adopt Rex and bring him home to live out the rest of his days as her pet.
The red tape she has faced is enormous. Sen. Chuck Schummer has stepped in to help. The wife of Yankees owner has pledged to fund the transportation. It is now up to the government to allow this veteran, who served this country with distinction, to him to retire with dignity. One would think this is a no brainier, yet it isn't as easy as it looks. Like veterans coming from war, the psychological changes that have taken place are unfathomable. PTSD is probable, especially as Leavey states they were the victims of one blast that "nearly killed them."
The government doesn't want to 'unleash' a dog to a family in a neighborhood who may be suffering from traumas that do not affect him except spur of the moment. It is wise to take time to 'vet' this dog and his prospective owner. Yet his final days should not be cut short because he 'might' snap. These animals are trained to help their human handlers find these insidious IED's. They risk their lives to save many. Many do not survive their tour because there lives are expendable in lieu of saving someone's son or daughter.
We all get that.
To then decide that this animal cannot be re-introduced into civilized society because of the experiences he may have had is ludicrous. I am sure Cesar Milan would offer to help handlers’ re- introduce these heroes to civilian life and teach owner/handlers what to do in the event of PTSD. It is clear the bond between some of the handlers and their canine partner is unshakable. The human realizes he cannot take the dog home at the end of their tour. However, if a handler, in this case, Leavey keeps track of their dog and offers to take the dog when it's retired out of the corps, why shouldn't his dog get this opportunity.
I realize the risks, so does Leavey I am sure, better then any of we civilians. Yet to euthanize these dogs because of potential liability is not only wrong, it is despicable.
The recent news is Rex may get the reprieve he so deserves. He may get to fly to his new home, thanks to the Yankee's, and live out his life in Valley Cottage, New York. He has served his partner Leavey, as well as his country. With all the strife and emotional distress clearly wreaked on all who have spent time in this war, shouldn't he be permitted to sleep under the trees in the grass at Meagan Leavey's home? I for one think this is a no brainer. I am sure any animal behaviorist will donate their time to evaluate and create a transition plan for Rex. It is the least we can do for these brave soldiers who don't sign up to be soldiers and often gave their lives to save their human comrades.
I hope to meet Rex some day soon once he hopefully lives over the Tappen Zee Bridge from my home. I will keep an eye out for him and the happy ending to this story.