Hundreds of people in Michigan came together to say a one last final goodbye to a cancer-stricken dog, Cena, a 10-year-old old black lab.
Cena received a hero’s farewell Wednesday before being euthanized at the USS LST 393, a museum ship in Muskegon, and carried off in a flag-draped coffin. He, who was recently diagnosed with terminal bone cancer, was a bomb-sniffer for the Marines until his retirement in 2014.
Lance Cpl. Jeff Young, his owner, organised the event for Cena who was paired with the dog in 2009 and 2010 while on a combat tour in Afghanistan and who adopted him in 2014. Cena then became DeYoung’s service dog to help him with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
“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 he has carried Cena across rivers and thrown his body over him while under heavy fire from the Taliban. He said Cena kept DeYoung’s body warm during cold desert nights, and comforted him when he lost seven friends in three weeks.
As part of the celebration, DeYoung took his dog on one last ride in a topless Jeep that was decorated and named “Cancer Response Team.”
“It started off with my basically wanting to go to a dealership and wanting to borrow a Jeep for a day and really small to a community tribute or a community parade for him and he’s truly deserved it all,” DeYoung said.