Losing a loved one can be one of the most challenging experiences anyone can go through. The pain and sense of loss can be overwhelming, especially when that loved one is a faithful companion who has been by your side through thick and thin. For one Marine, saying goodbye to his combat mate is more than just a difficult task – an emotional journey he is determined to get right. The combat mate in question is not a fellow soldier but a dog. This dog has been by Marine’s side through some of his military career’s most intense and harrowing experiences.
The video has attracted millions of views:
Hundreds of people gathered in Michigan to say their final tearful goodbyes to a ᴄᴀɴᴄᴇʀ-stricken dog who served three tours in Afghanistan with the US Marines. Cena, a 10-year-old black lab, was given a hero’s farewell on Wednesday before being ᴇᴜᴛʜᴀɴɪᴢᴇᴅ and carried away in a flag-draped coffin at the USS LST 393, a museum ship in Muskegon. After being diagnosed with terminal bone ᴄᴀɴᴄᴇʀ, Cena served as a Marine bomb sniffer until his retirement in 2014.
Lance Cpl. Jeff Young, who was paired with the dog in 2009 and 2010 while on a combat tour in Afghanistan and adopted him in 2014, organized the Cena celebration. Cena was then trained to be DeYoung’s service dog to assist him with his post-ᴛʀᴀᴜᴍᴀᴛɪᴄ sᴛʀᴇss ᴅɪsᴏʀᴅᴇʀ. DeYoung claimed to have carried Cena across rivers and thrown his ʙᴏᴅʏ over him under Taliban fire. He contended that Cena kept DeYoung’s body warm on cold desert nights and consoled him after he lost seven friends in three weeks.
In the end, saying goodbye to a beloved companion is never easy. But for this Marine, it is about more than just saying farewell. It is about honoring a special bond, celebrating a life of service, and showing gratitude for the sacrifices that have been made. The ceremony may be a difficult and emotional experience. Still, it is also a chance to remember a loyal friend who will always hold a special place in a Marine’s heart.