Cena the black lab received a hero’s farewell before being euthanized at a museum ship in Muskegon and carried off in a flag-draped coffin.
Cena was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer two weeks ago.
The tearful owner Lance Cpl. Jeff DeYoung carried Cena’s body away covered in a US flag after the dog was put to sleep.
Following their retirement in 2014, DeYoung adopted Cena so he could become his service dog to help 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.
Any dog that served overseas deserves exactly what I’ve done for Cena, if not more,’ DeYoung said.
DeYong was paired with Cena based on a personality test back in 2009 before they both embarked on their first tour.
‘He was very quiet, I was very quiet. We were very mellow and kind of belonged together,’ DeYoung told Fox 17.
The duo built trust with each other very quickly because their lives would depend on it.
“Our first day inside the city of Marjah we were clearing an already tilled over corn field,” said DeYoung. “The sun was coming up with the village in front of us so the sun was hitting our eyes. The moment the sun peaked over those buildings we took contact. We took machine gun fire from three separate places and I laid on top of Cena and hooked his collar to my flack jacket and laid on him until the threat was neutralized.”
Man’s best friend. RIP Cena!