“Rex” the honorary Marine with the power to heal…
Last Friday 3/25 we had the honor to participate in a very rewarding rescue. Oneil Jones and I (Nick O’Connell, President of Pilots N Paws) flew the northern leg from Williamsburg, VA to Allentown, PA to pick up Rex.
Rex is a stunning German Shepherd. He is 91 pounds, gentle in nature, alert, and very intelligent. Too big to fly in the cargo hold, we cleared the back seat to make room. He eagerly jumped on the wing and into the seat. You could tell he had some separation anxiety as he was leaving Marlene Lengle, the lady who cared deeply for him for the past several months. As we taxied out he kept turning his head to catch a glimpse of her. Marlene happens to be the mother of Michele Malloy, CEO and founder of Paws for Vets, Inc.
Once airborne Rex seemed quite interested in what we were doing at the controls. He rode a good distance with his head between Oneil’s and my shoulder. He really seemed focused and on point during the short 2 hour flight back to Williamsburg. Although at 6000’ he did doze a little.
We landed and met pilot Keith Decker, his wife Suzy, and a photographer friend. After exchanging paperwork, taking pictures, and a brief conversation, Rex jumped right into their Cessna, like he’d been flying all his life. It was really sad to see him go.
Keith turned his plane south and headed for North Carolina. He reports the flight to Jacksonville, NC was pretty uneventful with Rex nodding off with his head on Suzy’s lap. It was a long day for the boy! When they landed they opened the windows and extended 2 American flags over the wing.
You see what made this trip such an honor is Rex is a service dog in training. Marlene began his training several months ago knowing Rex was slated to become a constant companion to a wounded Marine, Garrett Shannon. Garrett and his new trainer who will continue teaching Rex met Keith and Suzy at the airport in Jacksonville. The pictures tell it all! It is the sincere hope and belief of everyone at Pilots N Paws and throughout the Country that Rex will help our Soldier and his family heal.
Most of what we do involves “man saving dog.” This trip was about “dog saving man.”
Thank you to Pilot Nick for sharing this amazing story. Pilot Keith offered these words as well:
“The most magnificent German Shepard we had ever seen and one of the most memorable flights I have made in my entire career. What a privilege!! Best, Keith”