“Man’s best friend.” Never has the phrase meant more.
Dogs do so much for so many; not only are they companions for millions but they also provide help and assistance for millions more. This includes the military.
Lance Cpl. Jeff DeYoung was paired with a black lab named Cena back in 2009, and the two embarked on a combat tour in Afghanistan. As a bomb sniffer, Cena proved his worth time and time again.
When Cpl. DeYoung returned home, he realized he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, so he decided to officially adopt Cena, who in turn helped him deal with the illness.
This is the kind of story that’s supposed to have a happy ending. DeYoung was supposed to eventually leave the terror of war behind him, and he and Cena would have many more great years together.
Unfortunately, life can be cruel.
Cena, now ten years old, was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer and sadly, there was nothing anyone could do. DeYoung simply had to find a way to say goodbye to his long-time friend.
Well, he did just that: He organized a fitting celebration for Cena before the dog was euthanized; the event was held aboard the USS LST 393, a museum ship in Muskegon.
The poor dog was dying, of course, and couldn’t walk, so his owner carried him, resulting in the heartbreaking picture you see here. Afterward, the deceased Cena was carried off in a coffin draped in the American flag.
“My whole adult life I’ve had Cena,” DeYoung said. “When I was 19 overseas learning how to be responsible, I had Cena. And now I’m 27 and I’m having to say goodbye to one of the biggest pieces of my life.”
DeYoung said Cena kept him company while under heavy fire from the Taliban, kept him warm on cold desert nights, and even helped comfort him when he lost seven friends in just three weeks.
Hundreds of people joined DeYoung in saying goodbye to Cena, and other organizations showed up as well; the State and City Police, along with the Fire Department and U.S. Marine Corp. League were all in attendance.
“Any dog that served overseas deserves exactly what I’ve done for Cena, if not more.”
Source: ABC News