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Megan Leavey: Life Lessons from a Dog in this True Story


Dogs teach us so much. A dog named Rex taught one U.S. Marine about how to love in the movie “Megan Levy.” The film, based on a true story, was a feature shown in theaters, and is now readily available at places like Amazon Prime.

Rex in the movie

In 2005, Leavey and Rex they were deployed to Fallujah for seven months and then to Ramadi in 2006. In all, they served for nearly three years at each other’s side and completed more than 100 missions together. During that time Rex identified hundreds of explosives and saved countless lives.

It was during the second deployment that Leavey and Rex were both injured by a makeshift explosive device which reportedly was targeted at them specifically.

Following recovery from her injuries, Leavey retired from the military and sought to adopt Rex. You’d think that would be a no-brainer. However, the military never considered the bond that formed between Megan and Rex, and Rex was essentially considered equipment – they sent him right back into action.

The real Megan Leavey and Rex

Megan initiated a public campaign in order to finally allow the military to allow them to reunite and retire Rex as a pet.

Before she joined the military Leavey had a tough time, and was unable to relate so well to people. Perhaps that’s what she and Rex had in common, as Rex wasn’t trusting of others either.

She developed trust with Rex, and that trust is required to survive in combat.

The movie demonstrates some of what dogs do every day to protect our soldiers.

What’s changing – but slowly – is the military honoring the bond handlers develop with their dogs. Happily dogs aren’t left behind to starve any longer (as was the case following the Vietnam war), but handlers should be allowed to retire with their dogs. In this instance, according to the movie, Rex could be reactive – so it was thought a military life was more well suited for him. However, when Megan finally did adopt the dog who saved her own life and so many other lives, he turned out to be just a normal pet who likes to play.

The real Megan Leavey honored at Yankee Stadium

The movie is, in part, based on the book, “Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and His Military Working Dog,” by Mike Dowling, another Rex handler. Kate Mara plays Megan with just the right touch, also in the film are Edie Falco, Bradley Whitfield and Common. 

In real life, Megan, who is now a search and rescue dog handler and veterinary technician, is also a Yankees fan. And this is in real-life a video of Megan Leavey being honored at Yankee Stadium. 


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