How Did Megan Leavey’s Dog Rex Die?

Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s biographical drama film ‘Megan Leavey’ ends with the titular Marine Corps soldier adopting Rex, the military dog who accompanies her throughout her career. In real life, as the film depicts, Megan adopted Rex after a long battle involving a petition signed by over 20,000 individuals and the support of the New York senator. Even though she had to wait for a while to reunite with her companion, Rex was released from the Marine Corps for Megan to adopt in 2012. Unfortunately, the beloved canine died eight months after the adoption, specifically in December of the year.

Rex’s Death

Rex died of old age on December 22, 2012. The Facebook page of Mike Dowling’s non-fiction book ‘Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and His Military Working Dog’ announced the death the same day. “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,” reads the announcement. Rex had lived with Megan Leavey for eight months in her house in Rockland County, New York, before his passing.

Megan Leavey and Rex in Iraq

“I am so grateful for the last 8 months I got to spend with my partner & my best friend,” Megan shared after Rex’s passing. He spent the last eight months of his life swimming in a pool and playing with the Marine veteran’s other dogs. He was able to roam around and bark at deer, play with toys, make friends with Megan’s two cats, and sleep in a cozy bed next to his companion until his death. “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,” Megan added about his passing. After Rex’s death, Megan thanked “everyone who supported me & made it possible for me to spend those precious 8 months with my best friend” as well.

Rex was released from service in early 2012 after he developed facial palsy, which stopped him from sniffing bombs. If Megan hadn’t intervened to adopt him, he would have been euthanized. “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,” Megan told 1010 WINS after adopting him in April 2012. The veteran continues to remember him on the day of his passing and other occasions.

More than a decade after Rex’s death, Megan is still surrounded by dogs. She has two canine companions and they share their lives with the Marine veteran and her daughter.

Read More: Where is Megan Leavey Now? Is She Married?