Picture(s): AP Photo/Charles Dharapak |
A V.I.P.: Very Important Pooch
Rex, a five-year-old German shepherd who was deployed in Iraq, sits beside his owner, Tech. Sgt. Jamie Dana of Smethport, Pa., during President Bush’s State of the Union address on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2006.
Feb. 1, 2006 â€” Former U.S. president Harry S. Truman famously observed, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
President George W. Bush took that maxim one step further Tuesday, inviting a famed German shepherd to his State of the Union address.
The five-year-old canine captured the hearts of Washington policy hacks when he was separated from Air Force Technical Sergeant Jamie Dana when he was injured in a roadside bombing in Iraq.
Military practice forbade Dana from adopting his canine comrade, as the dog was still considered a highly trained military asset.
But after their plight hit the headlines, Congress passed, and Bush signed, a new law lifting the prohibition on adopting dogs before their working lives were over.
The Air Force then let the adoption go ahead.
Rex’s work in Iraq included searching vehicles at checkpoints and scouring buildings for booby traps and explosives.
The pair was riding in a Humvee vehicle together last June when the bomb went off.
Both Dana and Rex were listed as guests in First Lady Laura Bush’s box by an official White House press release.
It was believed to be the first time an animal had been allowed into the hallowed halls of the House of Representatives to hear a president in action.
Senator Edward Kennedy’s dog has however been known to patrol congressional hearing rooms when his master is at work.
Copyright Â© 2006 Discovery Communications Inc.