Losing a furry friend is always hard – but this goodbye in particular was especially hard for Lance Corporal Jeff DeYoung.
When DeYoung was just 19 years old, he was deployed to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. He wasn’t alone, however – he was also joined by Cena the bomb-sniffing pooch.
After they retired, DeYoung adopted Cena, which also helped him deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
Then, two weeks ago, the faithful hound was diagnosed with bone cancer and lost his ability to walk.
Heartbroken by the prognosis, the marine’s brother-in-arms made a GoFundMe campaign in order to help raise money for vet bills, tasty dog food, and a rental Jeep with a detachable roof so Cena could feel the breeze in his face one last time. The page, which has raised over $62,000, will also pay for a bronze statue of the pup as a headstone.
“This dog was more than a pet to us,” said DeYoung’s fellow marine, Jacobie Baumann. “He was another brother.”
Additionally, as news of Cena’s impending fate became more widely spread, the community turned up in full force in order say goodbye to the dog and give him a proper military sendoff. Over 100 people from around Muskegon, Michigan were in attendance of the ceremony on Wednesday.
DeYoung carried the 10-year-old pup on his shoulders into the USS LST 393 Museum with dozens of onlookers waving goodbye. After he was euthanized, Cena was carried out in a casket with an American flag draped over it.
While Cena will be missed, it is safe to say that he was certainly given a canine funeral fit for a king.
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Reprint (Photo by Jacobie Baumann)