Wednesday, February 01, 2006

puppy love

I'm proud to have made one small difference.

I've been meaning to blog about this for a week or so, but pushed it aside. Last night's State of the Union address reminded me I needed to do so, and all the more now. Many of you already know about the dog that was in the audience last night. His name is Rex. Here is his story, by way of a thank-you email sent to me and to many other citizens who care about animals, who may have helped in some small way to permit Rex to attend last night. Here's the email, which I will quote in full:


Thanks to your support, the legal obstacles were cleared expeditiously, allowing U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jamie Dana to adopt Rex, her military working dog partner.

As you may know, Sgt. Dana and Rex were working together in Iraq, searching for hidden explosives. In June, a bomb detonated under the vehicle in which she and Rex were riding, and Sgt. Dana was critically injured. Rex, who had suffered only a minor burn on his nose, was brought to the hospital to provide moral support. As Sgt. Dana recovered with Rex by her side, the bond between the wounded soldier and her loyal partner grew even stronger. As a result, she sought to adopt him; however, military rules prohibited the adoption of military dogs before the end of their useful working lives.

But thanks to the outpouring of public support, Congress addressed this issue and passed a bill allowing the adoption of military dogs under exceptional circumstances. President Bush then signed the bill into law, eliminating the legal obstacles that prevented Rex’s adoption. And we are pleased to report that the Air Force moved quickly. On January 13, at a special adoption ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Sgt. Dana’s squadron commander, Maj. Paul Cairney, officially handed over Rex’s leash to Sgt. Dana.

At the ceremony, American Humane CEO and President Marie Belew Wheatley said, “We extend our grateful appreciation on behalf of our more than 29,000 members who appealed to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to support the act of Congress that made this adoption possible. We at American Humane know there is a powerful bond between people and animals that has already played a role in Sgt. Dana’s recovery and now can continue to do so. We extend our grateful appreciation and thank the Air Force, which believes, as we do, that allowing Sgt. Dana to adopt Rex was the right thing to do.”

Sgt. Dana, recalling her thoughts when she first saw Rex during her recovery, said, “My best friend is okay. We lived, and we’re gonna be okay.” Sgt. Dana continues to recuperate, as she and her husband, Mike, welcome Rex into their “family” of three cats, two dogs, and four horses.

The American Humane Association deeply appreciates your help and support. Your voice has made a difference in convincing members of Congress and the President to do the right thing.

Welcome home, Sgt. Dana and Rex. Have a good life together, you've earned it.


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