AKC Salutes Slain Military Hero and His Faithful Canine Companion
AKC Pet Healthcare Plan and Lifetime Enrollment in Recovery Service Provided to Fallen Soldier's Dog
The American Kennel Club® is proud to acknowledge the deep bond between military working dog Lex, an eight-year-old German Shepherd and his handler, Marine Corporal Dustin Jerome Lee who was tragically killed in a mortar attack in Falluja, Iraq earlier this year. Dusty Lee was a renowned dog handler due to his extraordinary ability to work an explosives detection dog and narcotics detection dog simultaneously. AKC Companion Animal Recovery's Dr. Carmen Battaglia attended a ceremony at the US Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia on December 21 to honor Cpl. Lee, his family and Lex.
According to CNN's Web site "Marine Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee and his German Shepherd, Lex, scoured Iraq for roadside bombs together, slept next to each other and even posed in Santa hats for a holiday photo. When a mortar attack killed the 20-year-old Marine in Falluja a few months later, Lex, whimpering from his own injuries, had to be pulled away ....
That strong bond compelled the slain Marine's family to adopt 8-year-old Lex even though the military said he still had two years of service.
The family lobbied the military for months, launched an Internet petition and enlisted the aid of a North Carolina congressman who took their case straight to the Marine Corps' top general."
"When we heard that the Marine Corps announced that Lex could go home to Lee's family and that this was a precedent, we wanted to honor that decision and those involved in some way," said Dr. Battaglia. "We know how much love and companionship any canine can bring to a family, and we are hopeful that Lex's presence will offer some solace to the Lees during this difficult time."
After the ceremony Dr. Battaglia presented the family, on AKC's behalf, a free lifetime enrollment in AKC Companion Animal Recovery, a non-profit that provides 24-hour recovery services to lost pets, and a complimentary one year AKC Pet Healthcare Wellness Plan worth over $500. The AKC also presented the family with a certificate honoring the dog's bravery, a gift basket of dog products, and a bronze statue commemorating the place of the loyal German Shepherd in our society.
Despite some shrapnel that remains lodged in Lex's back, he has been declared healthy and was released to the family after the ceremony on Dec. 21. The AKC Pet Healthcare Plan for Lex includes the superior Wellness package which will provide coverage for future illnesses and accidents up to $13,000 a year maximum. In addition, it will have excellent benefits (80% of covered services after meeting the annual deductible of $125) for routine preventative care such as regular shots, 12 months of flea and tick control, heartworm preventatives, an annual dental cleaning and an annual physical exam.
For more information on the AKC Pet Healthcare Plan and AKC Companion Animal Recovery visit http://www.akcphp.com and http://www.akccar.org/