A Marine dog that served three tours in Afghanistan was honored by hundreds of people in Michigan after learning he had terminal bone cancer.
Cena met his owner when he worked as a bomb sniffer before his retirement in 2014. Lance Cpl. Jeff DeYoung worked alongside Cena on a combat tour in 2009 and 2010, according to The Associated Press.
The celebration included a final ride for the 10-year-old black lab, Cena, in a topless Jeep dubbed “Cancer Response Team.”
DeYoung didn’t anticipate all of the support Cena received. The U.S. Marine Corps league, Michigan State Police, another canine officer named Rex, and others in service gathered to celebrate the hero-dog’s life.
“Any dog that served overseas deserves exactly what I’ve done for Cena, if not more,” DeYoung said.
After the beautiful celebration, Cena was euthanized and carried out in a flag-draped coffin.
— Hamilton Spectator (@TheSpec) July 28, 2017
— WOOD TV8 (@WOODTV) July 27, 2017
Since that first tour together, the two have been inseparable. DeYoung adopted Cena in 2014 and although they are not longer deployed, they still make a strong team. Cena was Young’s service dog and supported him through 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.”