“With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace.
His presence by my side is protection
Against my fears of dark and unknown things.
He has promised to wait for me…
Whenever... wherever - in case I need him.
And I expect I will - as I always have.
He is my partner,
He is my dog."
They trained together for three years
In Pakistan they lived together in a tent
The bond that formed between them grew
They were together everywhere they went
In June they were once again deployed
They arrived side by side in our war in Iraq
They worked as a team hunting for explosives
Both night and day covering each other’s back
Then one very terrible and tragic afternoon
A roadside bomb exploded under their Humvee
The heroic female soldier was critically injured
Passing out in pain “Where’s Rex?” was her plea
The medics said her loyal comrade had died
For weeks after this soldier was truly forlorn
But Rex the Dog had also managed to survive
And one day soon their friendship was re-born
One of these soldiers plans to leave the military
And her dream now is to become an animal vet
She also hopes that her partner can accompany her
That he too can now retire and now become her pet
But our military has always had very severe rules
They keep telling her that Rex is military property
They keep telling her that her best friend in the world
Must serve another five-ten years before he can be free
As bizarre as it seems to very many of us
Including very many veterans such as me
It will now literally take an act of Congress
For these soldiers to stay together – as they should be
"He's my best friend," Air Force Tech Sergeant Jamie Dana recently said. "I thought he was dead, and I was almost dead, and that made the feeling to be with him much stronger."
When that roadside bomb exploded under their vehicle, Sgt. Dana’s lungs collapsed, her spine fractured, and her pelvis was broken. But the only thing that mattered to her was the welfare of her partner.
For the time being, Sgt. Dana’s brave partner Rex is with her on convalescent leave, and will soon return with her to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, where they are now both stationed.
But under Title 10, U.S. Code 2583, the Air Force says it cannot allow this severely wounded soldier to take her combat partner home with her until this dog is too old to be of further use to them. Rex is now only 5 years old, not nearly the military property retirement age of 10 to 14 years.
The Air Force has already turned down her request to release Rex from active military duty twice. Adopting Rex, military officials say, would not be "a legal or advisable use of an Air Force asset, in spite of the sentimental value and potential healing effects this might produce."
In Congress, several lawmakers have now taken up her cause, including Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient, who is working on a bill that would allow Dana to adopt Rex. Murtha’s measure is expected to emerge from a conference committee by the middle of next month, and it must face votes in both houses.
"This young lady came as close to death as you can come and still be alive," said Rep. John E. Peterson (R-Pa.), who is also working on her behalf. "She was extremely seriously wounded . . . and I think a person who came that close to death deserves to have the dog who went through it with her. . . . I think that's the least we can do for her."
"I'm waiting to see what happens," Sgt. Dana said. “It’s hard to count on these legislative efforts, "until I have it in writing that Rex is mine."
Perhaps you might find it in your heart to contact your own legislators on behalf of these two brave wounded combat veterans, who also happen to be the best of friends.