Iraq War Biopic Recounts Marine’s Battle For Her Loyal Service Dog

If you’re going to the theater to see “Megan Leavey,” be sure to bring tissues. The story of a former Marine’s fight with the military to adopt her hero dog will bring you to tears.


I have a special affinity for military service dogs. I know all too well how pivotal they are in protecting and saving the lives of military members like my husband. As a dog lover, I never fail to get a lump in my throat when I think of how loyally military canines serve as well, and how brave they are in the face of protecting their people.


Related: Smallest Military Dog Makes Big Impact on Largest Naval Base


A movie about one such story tells about a special German Shepherd named Rex who became the lifeline of his handler, former Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey. The movie, which stars Kate Mara, chronicles the journey of Megan and Rex, from the first meeting where Megan admits she was a bit leery of the intimidating dog, to the end… but we won’t include any spoilers here.


Leavey, who was injured with Rex in 2006, says that bomb sniffing dogs like Rex saved her life and the lives of fellow members by detecting IED’s that became so widely used during the Iraq War. That September day, Rex and Leavey were patrolling their area on foot, but the enemy had buried an explosive too deeply for Rex to detect it and it threw both Leavey and Rex over 10 feet into the air when it exploded.


Leavey and Rex had to be separated due to their specific injuries. Leavey says that leaving Rex was heartbreaking, and watching it on the big screen reminded her of how she felt like she was abandoning him. Leavey is now a sales associate with the New York Yankees, and the movie will premiere at Yankee Stadium this Friday.


The pair went through over 100 missions together, and when she left the Marine Corps in 2008 with a Purple Heart for her service, she went up against another battle to ensure that Rex spent his last days with her. Saying that dogs like Rex are unsung heroes of war, she wanted to take care of the dog who’d so often taken care of her, but the military feared he was too aggressive and would bite others.


Related: TEDD Group Fights for Canine Military Heroes Considered ‘Obsolete Equipment’


She fought for him, though, launching a campaign to adopt him and securing the help of politicians like Senator Chuck Schumer to help get him cleared for adoption. The story is inspiring, and brings to light how often these unsung canine heroes are left behind once their mission has ended.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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