Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

1st national monument for war dogs honors four-legged pup soldiers of World War II and beyond


The Military Working Dog Teams National Monument (Dogs For Defense Save Lives)

Fox News:

LOS ANGELES – The act of Congress is in the books, the bills are paid, the sculptures are being cast, and one of the biggest parades in the world will start a glory tour and countdown to dedication.

The first national monument to pay tribute to military dogs will be unveiled in California in just two months. The U.S. Working Dog Teams National Monument will honor every dog that has served in combat since World War II.

Some cities, cemeteries and military bases across the country already have such memorials. But none has been elevated to national monument level, where it will be in the company of the Statue of Liberty, Yosemite National Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

In 2000, John Burnam, a 65-year-old veteran military dog handler, wrote a book called "Dog Tags of Courage." A year later, he got an email from a reader wondering why there were no national monuments to the dogs of war.

In "Dog Tags" and a 2008 book, "A Soldier’s Best Friend," Burnam wrote about his time with the Army’s 44th Scout Dog Platoon when he was in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968.

His first dog, Timber, was injured in an ambush a few months after they teamed up, so he spent most of his tour with a German shepherd named Clipper.

"He saved my life and saved the lives of others by alerting on ambushes, snipers and booby traps. I wanted to give something back to these animals that have done so much and asked for so little, except for food and water and the love of their handlers," said Burnam, who received the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Back then, handlers were not able to adopt their dogs when they were retired.

"I always worried about them but I know they died over there and they died as heroes," he said.

In 2004, Burnam and two other dog handler veterans pursued the idea in earnest, forming the John Burnam Monument Foundation Inc. But it took two more years, until he met Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., that the monument project started to take shape.

In 2007, Jones introduced legislation authorizing establishment of the monument. Passed unanimously by Congress, it was signed the next year by President George W. Bush, then amended and signed by President Barack Obama.

Burnam designed the monument, which depicts the modern military handler and four dogs — a Doberman, German shepherd, Labrador retriever and Belgian Malinois, all breeds used in wars.

The silicon bronze handler stands more than 9 feet tall and weighs 1,500 pounds. Each dog is about 5 feet tall and weighs 550 pounds. Burnam called them "hero-sized."

The figures will stand on a pedestal, in front of a large granite wall. One side of the wall will have photos etched in black marble veneer showing dog teams in combat from the different wars. The other side will have an inscription written by Burnam.

The sculptor, Paula Slater, said it was the largest and most complex monument she had ever done. She worked for thousands of hours, saying that finishing a project of that size "is like giving birth to a baby — five of them."

The money for the monument came slowly. Burnam made one of many fundraising pitches on the reality TV show "Who Let the Dogs Out," featuring Tillman, the skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding bulldog. The president of Natural Balance Pet Foods Inc., the company that Tillman represents, attended the show taping and volunteered to pitch in more than $1 million.

"Don’t do a thing. Natural Balance and Petco (Animal Supplies Inc.) will take care of it," Joey Herrick said. To raise funds for the monument and its maintenance, Natural Balance created a jerky bark treat sold by Petco. Maddie’s Fund, a family-funded pet rescue foundation, also signed on as a corporate sponsor.

The public will get a sneak peak of the monument at the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, when a floral replica will be used as Natural Balance’s float. Burnam, dogs and handlers from every military service branch will ride on it.

When the float goes on display afterward at Victory Park, the real bronze monument will make its public debut next to it, Herrick said. Then the bronze monument will go on tour as it heads to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. The location was chosen as the site for the monument because that’s where most of the nation’s military’s dogs are trained.

Meanwhile, Tillman, the dog that helped get Burnam the monument funding, is also getting personal recognition for his military service. For his work entertaining troops at bases and for going through a mini Marine boot camp, the athletic bulldog has been made an honorary private 1st class.


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November 12, 2012 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holidays With Pets, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pet and Animal Training, Political Change, Service and Military Animals, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences, We Are All God's Creatures, Working and Military Dogs and Related | , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Help Save USMC Sergeant Rex – Updated

Good News Update (03.20.12):  The Marine Corp has officially announced that Sgt. Rex will retire and be reunited with his partner Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey. Thank you to everyone who contacted the Marine Corps, Air Force Sec Michael Donley, Senator Schumer or your own U.S. Senator, Congressman or military contact on their behalf!!. JOMP~

Please contract your U.S. Senator, Senator Chuck Schumer, USMC or Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, who oversees military service dog training to help save Sgt. Rex and unite him in retirement with his partner Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey.

Marine Cpl. Meagan Leavey and her canine partner, Sgt. Rex, were trained to detect roadside bombs and other materials. Now, she’s trying to adopt him before he’s put to sleep.

‘REX is my partner. I love him’ – Retired marine fights to adopt military dog before it’s put to sleep.

The Blaze Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey served with her four-legged partner Sgt. Rex through two tours in Iraq, completing hundreds of missions searching for roadside bombs until an insurgent explosion took them both out of service.

More than five years later, Leavey, 28, is fighting to adopt the dog she handled since her earliest days as a Marine before the German shepherd is put to sleep.

“Rex is my partner, I love him,” Leavey, who lives with her father in Rockport, N.Y. and works as a dog handler, told MSNBC. “We have been through so much together…I’ve spent day and night with this dog. It’s a very strong bond.”

Leavey was discharged in Dec. 2007, but Rex — considered a valuable work dog — was put back in service after he recovered from his injuries. That was until a month ago, when he was diagnosed with a kind of nerve paralysis that left him unable to serve, the Westchester Journal News reported.

It’s now a race against the clock as Leavey struggles to cut through military red tape and adopt Rex before he is put down. “As a safety precaution, they don’t give all dogs away,” she told the Journal News. She said Rex, a strong “alpha dog,” never hurt anyone he wasn’t supposed to.

“The dilemma with me is the minute they say he can’t be adopted, because he‘s sick and because he can’t work, they’d have to put him to sleep,” she said. “Not because he’s too sick to live a good life, but because they can‘t utilize him so it wouldn’t make sense for them to keep a dog they’re not going to work at the kennels. I don’t want to let that happen.”

But time is ticking, she said. “This is not [the Marines’] first priority,” Leavey told New York Fox affiliate WNYW-TV. “A lot of times it gets lost in the shuffle.”

To help speed the process up, she reached out to veteran’s organizations and to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who sent a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, who oversees military service dog training. In the letter, Schumer detailed the relationship Leavey and Rex had and credited them with saving countless lives, according to the Journal News.

If Leavey’s request is granted, Rex will enjoy a sizable home with a fenced-in yard. Until she hears more, all she can do is wait. “It’s a partnership,” Leavey told the newspaper. “I feel like I know Rex so well. I’m so looking forward to seeing him again.”  barenakedislam

Sergeant Rex: The Few. The Proud. The Marine K-9 that Must Get Home

What will it take to realize the contributions that dogs provide to humanity in peacetime and in war? If you’re going to say a cup of Alpo, then maybe you should own a cat. Seriously. Without question, dogs have proven their place within the echelon of our combat fighters serving overseas. At home, they’re just as capable of saving lives, detecting cancer, building morale, helping the blind or just making you laugh. Some of them can even dial 911 nowadays.

They know your quirks. They understand you too damn well. They can sense your enemies. No matter what they persevere through in life, they without question will remain by your side until the very end.

Maybe you think that sounds a bit “extreme” for some folks who don’t see dogs taking their rightful place by the side of man (and women). Well if you’ve ever been crossing a street wondering when the next IED will go off around you, then you’d probably have a change of thought. I could not even imagine doing this, let alone having a furry companion by my side wondering what danger the next dark, dusty, street corner could bring. The more we look at our dogs as accessories, the more damage we’re doing to their existence. We are short changing the number one species on this planet that can help progress humans beyond our own character flaws. Put a peace-preaching animal lover in the same room with a hard-as-nails veteran K-9 handler and rest assured they will have a lot in common. How many people do you know are capable of loving you for who you are while at the same time taking a bullet for you – without question?

Steadfast loyalty, trust, and instinct are something that no cruise missile or predator drone can ever come close to. You can enhance weapons system all you want, but a dog will get by in the field without tools, batteries, or even body armor. The evolution of our dogs in war did not require a circuit board upgrade, they simply adapt by nature. During World War I they were tasked with killing rats in the trenches. Today they faithfully serve our soldiers as patrol dogs, IED detectors, scouts, messengers, and even parachute behind enemy lines. One could argue that, along with our omnipotent United States Army Rangers, our war dogs will always “lead the way“.

During two dangerous tours of duty in Iraq, a German Shepard named “Sergeant Rex” lead the way along with his handler, Corporal Megan Leavey. Both of them were severely injured in an IED attack. As you can imagine and IED can inflict as much mental damage as physical damage to a soldier. These scars do not stay in Iraq. They come home with you. Her K-9 partner does not just deserve “to come home”. It is required that Rex comes home to be with Megan and live a normal life that he earned, as did Megan, in Rockland County, NY.

Sergeant Rex, at 10 years old and considered no longer serving, probably possesses the same stubbornness and vigor as General George S. Patton. Old and wise beyond his years, seeing firsthand the intensity of combat, his situation is mired in “bureaucratic red tape”. Our politicians say they are trying to “work the channels” so Megan and Rex can be reunited through adoption.

A battalion of Marines, gear, and tech can be deployed anywhere in the world within 24 hours or less. You’re going to tell Corporal Levy that you can’t fast track a dog adoption? You don’t need a government accountant to figure this out. After all, our politicians fly luxury jets across the country to attend cocktail parties and rallies. Wouldn’t it be nice if he could hitch a ride back to New York?

Imagine a dog that saves your life in war, only to be left behind while you go home to relive, re-imagine, and repeat every nightmare scenario that you encountered during your tour(s). Now imagine this dog, who probably saved countless other Marines, has to sit in a kennel with other dogs – only waiting to be put to sleep.

Fellow soldiers recount their experiences with each other as a form of therapy. Sergeant Rex, alongside Megan, forged through blood, sweat, and fire must start a new life and serve his country in a civilian capacity. Like two old soldier buddies sitting on the porch recounting their days in Korea or Nam, you simply cannot deny this companionship. It is a companionship that leads the way for humanity.  by gspecadmin on March 10, 2012

BNI READER Barbara kindly gave us a link to Baghdad Pups. I’m going to write to them and see if they can help with this. Maybe you can too: OPERATION BAGHDAD PUPS

Before Megyn… Sgt Rex had another partner who wrote a book about Rex and their time together:

Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and His Military Working Dog

Update 03.17.12:  Thanks to all the public involvement and light shown on this incident by Fox News and other news outlets the process of endless paperwork and regulations seems to be moving forward at a quicker pace with greater hope that Sgt. Rex and Megyn will be reunited.

March 13, 2012 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Service and Military Animals, We Are All God's Creatures, Working and Military Dogs and Related | , , , , , | 12 Comments