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Beloved Bomb-Sniffing Dog Who Retired To Live With Marine Handler Dies

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Sergeant Rex has passed away.

The brave dog was wounded along with its handler Cpl. Megan Leavey in Iraq in 2006, where they spent two six-month tours together and completed more than 100 missions.

Insurgents watching from a rooftop detonated an explosive, nearly killing Leavey, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, and injuring Rex's shoulder.

Leavey and Rex convalesced together until Leavey's military commitment ended in 2008. She tried to adopt him, but the military still needed him.

"I've taken care of him. He's taken care of me. It's a bond you can't break," Leavey told CBS 2's Emily Smith back in March.

She kept on trying to adopt him for years.

Megan Leavey and Rex
Megan Leavey and Rex (credit: Facebook)

In 2012, Rex developed facial palsy, which prevented him from doing his bomb-sniffing tasks. He faced being put down if the adoption didn't go through. Sen. Charles Schumer intervened, and ultimately Rex was allowed to live with Leavey.

"It's only appropriate and right that the two of them enjoy their retirement from the service together," Schumer said, hailing the Air Force and the Marines for "doing the right thing and allowing Rex to be with Corporal Leavey."

Megan Leavey And Sgt. Rex
Former Marine Cpl. and Purple Heart recipient Megan Leavey and combat dog Sgt. Rex participate in a ceremony at Yankee Stadium before the game between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners on May 13, 2012. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Rex then got to live out the remainder of his life at Leavey's home in Rockland County. Even the New York Yankees took time out to honor Leavey and Sgt. Rex once they were reunited.

"I hadn't seen him in four years before this. He's just so happy to be home now at my house. He's made friends with my other pets. Everything is flowing so smoothly," Leavey told 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck in April. "I couldn't ask for any more, I just wanted to thank everyone."

On Dec. 22, the following was posted on a Facebook page for the book written about Sgt. Rex and Leavey:

"Military working dog Rex (E168) passed away this morning. He was 11 years old (April 2001-December 2012). Rest in peace Rex and thank you for your service and sacrifice. Once a Marine, Always a Marine... Semper Fi."

Leavey posted the following on her Facebook page:

"I am so grateful for the last 8 months I got to spend with my partner & my best friend. Rex got to swim in a pool and play with my other dogs. He got to roam the yard & bark at deer, play with as many toys as he wanted all day everyday, sleep in a cozy bed next to me every night, chase and eventually make friends with my 2 cats, enjoy & play in his first snowfall...and so much other great stuff that he would have never had the chance to do if he was never retired. He knew I was with him the whole time and I laid next to him & held him & spoke to him & he was at peace in the end. He is now my guardian angel...even though he already was. So thank you to everyone who supported me & made it possible for me to spend those precious 8 months with my best friend. He was one hell of a dog, one tough ass Marine, and one very special soul."

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