MEGAN LEAVEY grew up in Valley Cottage, New York. After September 11, 2001, she decided to leave college and join the United States Marine Corps. Corporal Leavey graduated from boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina and from there completed about a year of training, which included Marine Combat training, Military Police school, and K9 school. Corporal Leavey was stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA from 2004-2007 with the Military Police K9 section. Eventually, she was partnered with a Military Working Dog named Rex. Cpl. Leavey & Rex completed two tours in Iraq, beginning with Fallujah in 2005 and then Ramadi in 2006. Towards the end of their second tour, the duo was wounded in the line of duty. Insurgents watching from a rooftop detonated an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) as they watched Cpl. Leavey and Rex in front of a patrol sweeping the area.
With a full year left to her enlistment in the Marine Corps, Cpl. Leavey completed physical therapy along with Rex and helped train fellow dog handlers preparing for their future deployments. Cpl. Leavey was discharged in December 2007. Unfortunately, she could not take Rex back home with her. Rex was unable to deploy anymore but was still able to work stateside at Camp Pendleton. Over the course of the next few years, Rex was assigned to 11 different handlers, each for short periods of time. Rex was deemed “not adoptable” in his medical records, so toward the end of Rex’s service, it was unclear what his future would be. With a tip from a former colleague and the help of Jerry Donnellan, her local Veterans Adviser, Cpl. Leavey campaigned to adopt Rex, which caught the attention of the media and, eventually, Senator Chuck Schumer. Although, military dogs are not generally candidates for adoption, Rex was granted his retirement and entrusted to Leavey on April 6, 2012. Megan & Rex’s story caught the eye of Yankees President Randy Levine & his wife Mindy in the media. As huge animal lovers & military supporters, they graciously offered to fund all expenses to fly Rex from California to NY & any medical expenses he needed. They also held a ceremony celebrating the reunion on the field at Yankees Stadium. Leavey and Rex were able to spend the last eight months of his life together at her home in New York. Rex was able to sleep on the bed, run free with Cpl. Leavey’s other dog Patriot, swim in a pool and bark at deer. Rex passed away on December 22, 2012 with Cpl. Leavey at his side. A movie titled “Megan Leavey” was made and released in June of 2017 based on this true story. After the Marine Corps, Megan continued to work as a K9 handler in New York City with another explosive detection dog, a chocolate lab named Patriot. Patriot was retired in 2015, and lived a great life at home with Megan up until she passed away suddenly this past September. Megan also has two cats, Orange and Cali.
Cpl. Megan Leavey’s love for animals has since kept her in similar fields, working as a Veterinary Technician in New Jersey and as a Brand Ambassador for Royal Canin. Her love and dedication to animals has not gone unnoticed. There is a Congers dog park dedicated to Cpl. Leavey and Sgt. Rex, as well as to the K-9 working dogs of the Clarkstown Police Department. Megan also is a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 120. She was a board member and part of the committee charged with building a Monument in Haverstraw Bay Park that is dedicated to those from the Hudson Valley Area who lost their lives in the War Against Terror. You can also find a statue of Cpl. Leavey and her faithful dog Rex there.