Injured Vet Reunited With Her K9 Dog. And Mike

Your tug on the heart strings story of the day. NPR has a series on the impact of war, bringing stories of those who were injured fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to the people they are defending. This is the latest

Late afternoon is feeding time at Wounded Acres, Jamie Mangan’s 80-acre spread. Vegas is chowing down with a couple of the other dozen horses that live here. Scattered around the corrals and barns are nine cats, three dogs and one goat. Assorted tropical fish reside inside. These creatures help bring solace and order to a life thrown into chaos on June 25, 2005 — the day Jamie’s Humvee hit an IED and was blown up outside Kirkuk, Iraq.

Her 100-year-old farmhouse is filled with things equine. The walls of the kitchen are lined with plates bearing head shots of different breeds. The blue ribbons her show horses won, small horse figures and glittery carousels fill the shelves and cabinets.

Jamie plops down on the couch with the two most significant members of her menagerie: Rex and Mike. Rex is an 8-year-old bomb-sniffing German shepherd. He was blown out of Jamie’s Humvee after they searched a village outside Kirkuk. Rex suffered a singed nose, but Jamie thought he was dead.

Mike is the Army medic who helped save her life that day in Iraq. And he later became her husband.

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Jamie spent four months at Walter Reed. She met Wayne Newton, was awarded the Purple Heart and discovered that her beloved Rex was alive.

“They told me he was coming to visit,” she says. “And they told me he was coming down the hall. Rex knows me by whistle, so I whistle, and he came in and jumped up on my bed with his front feet, and then he jumped up the whole way. And I had IV lines everywhere and all kinds of tubes and stuff connected to me, and he was getting all tangled up in them and people were spazzing out. I didn’t care. He was there. I was happy.”

During her recovery, she began the difficult process of trying to adopt Rex. He was a healthy trained dog, and the regulations stated that he couldn’t be spared from duty. But Jamie’s plight generated heavy publicity. Eventually, Congress passed a bill to allow for exceptions to the adoption rules. President Bush signed the bill into law, and the White House sent Jamie and Rex an invitation to a State of the Union address.

“Rex was the first dog ever to actually get an invitation to the State of the Union,” she says.

She also went on to meet Mike again, they got to talking, the relationship developed, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

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2 Responses to “Injured Vet Reunited With Her K9 Dog. And Mike”

  1. Silke says:

    OK, you got me, Teach. Great story! I love dogs and I’m a sucker for a happy ending. I didn’t know about the new law allowing exceptions to the adoption rules. It says a lot about the compassion and generosity of the American people.

  2. Mike says:

    Thank You Teach.I agree with Silke on that statement. Not much else to add.

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