Canine War Hero’s Ashes Laid to Rest in Touching Tribute
You may remember the celebration of life for a three-tour canine war hero, Cena, last month. Cena was a 10-year-old black lab who served bravely as a bomb-sniffing dog until he retired in 2014.
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Upon retirement, Cena became his first handler’s, Lance Cpl. Jeff DeYoung, service dog, living and loving until his cancer diagnosis. DeYoung celebrated Cena’s life last month in local Muskegon, and hundreds paid homage as he was given salutes in dress blues on his way to being euthanized. He was later carried off in a flag-draped coffin.
Funeral convoys of Jeeps with American flags flanked Cena as he returned to the Michigan War Dog Memorial in Lyon Township. His remains are now there with other military service dogs, and State Senator Mike Kowall said that Cena’s work was fabulous and the war hero is welcomed home.
DeYoung led the convoy from Muskegon, and was joined by a second convoy from southwest Michigan of people wanting to pay their respects to both Cena and DeYoung for their sacrifice to the country. DeYoung had set up a GoFundMe campaign to help Cena’s last days be full, and expenses to be covered. It exceeded its goal of $40,000 by over $20,000 and the extra money will go to a rolling tribute to all war dogs, featuring donated airbrush art on a Jeep Wrangler.
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Over a dozen war dogs are memorialized at the Michigan War Dogs Memorial, the restored memorial formerly an abandoned monument to war dogs discovered in 2010. Cena’s life and legacy have brought honor to himself and his handler, but military working dogs everywhere, as so many have now paid their respects to Cena.
More by Lori Ennis