Military Service Dog Receives Tearful Send-off Service [Video]
I admit, I am biased. My husband has been an active duty Marine for over 20 years, and I have a special affinity for all the military service working dogs. Their honorable dedication and commitment to their handlers and their country always makes my heart swell with pride.
Related: Retired Marine Dog Awarded Highest Military Honor
So, the tears didn’t stop when I watched this tribute to Cena, a 10-year-old lab who served in several Afghanistan tours as a bomb detecting dog with his faithful handler, Cpl. Jeff Deyoung of Muskegon, Michigan.
Cena began his work with DeYoung when he was just 19-years-old, and DeYoung adopted Cena after his honorable service commitment was fulfilled. DeYoung has had Cena most of his adult life, he says, and so it was only fitting that he give Cena the honorable recognition he deserves in his last days. In recent years, Cena has also served as DeYoung’s service dog, helping support him with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from war.
Cena was recently diagnosed with bone cancer, and DeYoung created a bucket list for Cena to enjoy in their final days together. One of those items was to ride in an open top Jeep one last time so Cena could feel the breeze blow on his face, and DeYoung organized an event that surprised even him.
Saying he was overwhelmed at the support, the event he organized had hundreds of people attend to watch Cena’s final ride, including many Veterans, their families and Jeep enthusiasts from all over the country.
Local organizations came out as well, including one company who donated the dress blues that Cena wore as the veterinarian helped him cross the Rainbow Bridge on Wednesday. DeYoung said he deserved those blues, as he deserved the decorations and ribbons he won in war.
Related: Pugs Go Crazy When Military Dad Returns From Training [Video]
DeYoung took one last walk through all the people there to honor Cena, and gave one final salute for Cena before he passed on, leaving a poignant picture of what service dogs mean to those they help and support.
DeYoung also has a GoFundMe that has helped with vet bills and things to make Cena’s last days beautiful, as well as to help get him into the War Dog Memorial in Lyons, Michigan with a beautiful headstone.
Our thoughts, prayers and thanks are with DeYoung, and all the service members and service dogs who give so sacrificially of themselves.
More by Lori Ennis