For Jerome and Rachel Lee, Lex represents the last living vestige of their son, U.S. Marine Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee, who was killed in Iraq on March 21.

The German Shepherd was seriously injured in the rocket propelled grenade attack that killed Lee. He has since recovered and despite the family dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s with the U.S. Marine Corps, Lex is still being kept at the home of the 3rd Recon Battalion, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force in Albany, Ga. Marine Corps officials say Lex is to help train other dogs to do the work he did in Iraq.

“The Lee family can all understand how much of an asset Lex will be in training other dogs and their handlers but how long until the damage Lex suffered in the blast catches up to him,” said Lee Rich, a family member and spokesman who is at the forefront of the adoption campaign. “Lex deserves a nice home to retire to and a family who will love and take care of him. He is practically part of the family now.”

Dustin Lee’s family members are not strangers to handling K-9s. Dustin’s mother, Rachel Lee, has trained with search and rescue K-9s. That is undoubtedly where Dustin Lee received his love of dogs.

Rich said despite Dustin Lee’s parents filling out all the paperwork required by the Marine Corps in adopting Lex, the door has still been shut on their requests. He said this has been a very emotional time for them.

“Jerome and Rachel cannot get Dustin back,” Rich said. “They gave him to the Marine Corps to fight terrorism and unfortunately he died. But by adopting Lex, the pain of the loss of their son would ease somewhat.”

After seven months of filling out forms, sending e-mails and contacting all the necessary people, the Lee family has been told Lex would not be available for adoption for two more years.

“This news just floored the family,” Rich said. “There is no way for me to describe how heart broken they have been since being told this.”

If you would like to sign a petition to get Lex home or to voice your support, you can log on to http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/retire-military-working-dog-lex.

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