Family wants son's Marine dog - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Family wants son's Marine dog

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November 21, 2007

Albany -- The family of a Marine killed in Iraq is trying to adopt his K-9 companion, an Iraq War Veteran German Shepherd, trained in seeking out explosive devices.

20-year old Corporal Dustin Lee, a Marine dog handler died in an attack that also injured Lex, who lives right here in Albany, at the Marine Base.

Now, Corporal Lee's family wants to adopt him, but it could be a lengthy process.

"Lex was injured in the same explosion that killed his previous handler, Cpl. Lee," says Lt. Caleb Eames, MCLB Public Affairs Officer.

Corporal Dustin Lee died with Lex by his side. Now, his family would like to adopt Lex, the last to see Dustin alive.  "The base and Colonel Haliday are deeply sympathetic to the Lee family in the loss of their son and very sympathetic to their desire to adopt the dog," said Eames.

But it's not as easy as turning Lex over to the family. Eames says Lex, although injured, is now fit for duty, and not eligible to be adopted at this time.  "Lex at this time is fully fit for duty. Is successful in his mission, accomplished at protecting the base and potentially saving lives and we're proud to have Lex as part of our team."

Lex is lots of fun to be around and he loves to play catch, but he's also trained to be a military dog and he can be aggressive when necessary.  "Military working dogs are screened for aggressive traits or any other dangers they might present to people who are not familiar with working with military working dogs."

And although the adoption isn't likely to occur now, Lt. Eames says when it does, he hopes the Lee family can take Lex home.  "The command will fully support, at a later time, at the appropriate time, the adoption of Lex."

 To go home to the Lee family, a family who will never see his partner again.   Lex spent 12 weeks at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina where he was medically evaluated. He's now fully recovered. The Lee family was able to successfully adopt another dog Cpl. Lee worked with while working in Albany.