Video: Soldier reunited with best friend

By Chip Reid Correspondent
NBC News
updated 1/31/2006 7:22:25 PM ET 2006-02-01T00:22:25

In the halls of Congress Tuesday were two Iraq war veterans: Air Force Tech Sgt. Jamie Dana and her bomb-sniffing dog, Rex. For three years they were inseparable. Then, last June in Iraq, a roadside bomb exploded under their Humvee.

Dana — with collapsed lungs, organ damage and massive internal bleeding — almost died.

Rex, though, had only minor injuries and would soon be assigned to a new partner. But Dana, believing Rex was vital to her recovery, asked the Air Force for permission to adopt him.

The answer was yes, but it would take an act of Congress to grant a military working dog early retirement. Acting with unusual speed, Congress voted to change the law, the president signed it and two-and-a-half weeks ago, Dana officially adopted Rex.

In December, when NBC interviewed Dana , she was still walking with a cane — and was still terrified of losing Rex, saying, “We went to Iraq together. We almost died together. I mean, how can you top that?”

But Tuesday she said she can finally stop worrying. Dana and Rex made the rounds on Capitol Hill, thanking members of Congress who made it possible.

“It's such a wonderful feeling knowing he can't be taken away from me,” Dana says.

Tuesday night it is Dana and Rex who will be honored. They will sit in the first lady's box at the State of the Union address — a way for the president and the nation to say thank you to an inseparable team.

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