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Rex saved his partner's life. And then, years later, she saved him.

'I've taken care of him. He's taken care of me. It's a bond you can’t break.'

Rex saved his partner's life. And then, years later, she saved him.
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Megan Leavey

When Megan Leavey first met Sgt. Rex — a bomb-detecting German shepherd — they got off to a rocky start.

But through training, the pair worked long and hard to gain each others' trust — a trust that would be tested in over 100 missions after they deployed together as a bomb-detection team in Iraq.

Over the course of two six-month tours, Rex and Megan worked together to find undetonated explosives, saving each other and their team from danger. In 2006, they were working a routine sweep when an enemy detonated a roadside bomb, injuring Rex and nearly killing Megan in the explosion.


From the time they were first paired up, Megan and Rex were inseparable — that is, until Megan was discharged and Rex was not.

While Megan's service commitment ended in 2008, Rex was ready for another deployment. Megan returned home, and he went back to Iraq.

The pair's journey — and Megan's public campaign to petition the Marines to let her adopt Rex — are the subject of a moving new film called "Megan Leavey," starring Kate Mara:

After hundreds of missions and two tours in Iraq, Megan Leavey and her bomb-sniffing dog Rex formed a lifelong bond. This is their story.

Posted by Welcometoterranova Video on Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This movie goes beyond Megan's life with Rex; it’s also a glimpse into the incredible world of war dogs who have been supporting militaries around the globe for hundreds of years.

Humans have been bringing dogs alongside them into wars basically since the beginning of time. From the armored attack dogs of the ancient world to the trackers and bomb-sniffers of the modern military, dogs have been saving human lives for centuries.

"They aren't pets. They're warriors," Megan's gunnery sergeant (played by Common) tells her in the trailer. And though many war dogs eventually find civilian homes, their time in the service brands them unquestionably as heroes.

Spc. Kory Wiels and his military dog, Cooper, take a break after searching a house for weapons and homemade explosives in Baghdad. Photo by Spc. Olanrewaju Akinwunmi/U.S. Army.

It's impossible to say how many lives are saved with the enlistment of each new military animal, but there's no denying that they're invaluable assets to the branches they serve. The military actually incorporates a non-commissioned officer title into every dog’s name, always one rank higher than its human handler. It's a tradition that reminds handlers to enter into their canine relationship with respect.

Liaka, a Dutch shepherd, is led through the streets of Iraq during a mission. Petty Officer 2nd Class Todd Frantom/U.S. Navy.

Dogs enter into the line of fire to save their human handlers, protecting them in a conflict and scouting for explosives off-leash. Many lose their lives, which is why the military frequently gives fallen war dogs a hero's funeral.

U.S. Army Sgt. Ingram gives Staff Sgt. Cinte a drink. Photo by Pfc. Julian Turner/U.S. Army.

Despite their service, the respect and appreciation we have for war dogs for many years wasn't backed up by the necessary legislation.

Technically, military dogs are categorized as equipment. For a long time, when a dog became unable to continue service due to injury or age, they were considered "surplus." Sadly, military dogs were put down or left behind instead of being retired with honor like the warriors they were. It wasn't until 2000 that Robby's Law was passed and military working dogs were allowed to be adopted at the end of their service.

For Rex and Megan, the laws on the books weren't enough to reunite them.

Though Robby's Law made it possible for military dogs to be sent home and put up for adoption, the professionals at Camp Pendleton kennel in California doubted Rex's ability to acclimate to civilian life.

Megan knew she could provide her former partner a happy retirement, so she began a public crusade to persuade the Marines to let her adopt Rex.

Even U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer got involved, reaching out to the military on her behalf and launching a petition for people who "agree that these two American heroes should be reunited with all due speed."

Megan was finally able to take Rex home in March 2012, and he lived happily with his partner before passing away peacefully.

Their fight was also a contributing force to the movement that ultimately resulted in a law passed in 2015 that allows all military dogs to retire in the United States and gives their former handlers the first chance to adopt them.

Megan wrote:

"Rex got to swim in a pool and play with my other dogs. He got to roam the yard & bark at deer, play with as many toys as he wanted all day everyday, sleep in a cozy bed next to me every night, chase and eventually make friends with my 2 cats, enjoy & play in his first snowfall … and so much other great stuff that he would have never had the chance to do if he was never retired."

Rex's final days were a fitting end to a life of service to the military, the country, and his partner.

President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

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A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

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via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

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