Veteran Marine Lance Cpl. Jeffrey DeYoung served in Afghanistan with his military service bomb detecting dog Cena for six years. During that time, the two covered each other’s backs by keeping each other safe while serving our country.
When DeYoung was honorably discharged, his faithful friend had not yet finished fulfilling his military obligation. It would be four more years until the two would meet again when Cena was retired in 2014. DeYoung adopted Cena immediately upon his retirement.
Now reunited, the duo had four years of continued companionship. Cena continued to serve DeYoung upon retirement, “This dog, this brother of mine, has sat with me through a divorce, through homelessness, through missed jobs, my PTSD strikes, and waking up in my bathtub crying.”
Now 10 years of age, the black lab, had developed an aggressive terminal type of bone cancer. DeYoung wanted to show his faithful companion compassion by putting him out of his misery. What happened next may require a tissue.
DeYoung arranged for Cena to be put to sleep on July 26th after a final ride in a topless jeep before being laid to rest. Over 100 Michigan Jeep owners heard about this tribute and showed up to form a convoy for this military canine hero. Patriot Guard Riders also showed up and honored Cena with a silent flag line.
On the last night that the two would share companionship on this earth, DeYoung shares on a facebook post the following, “My last night with Cena.. words cannot convey what I’m feeling and thinking. I want to run away and not face what I must do. But he needs me to be strong and set him free. He has blessed my life with love and admiration, happiness and strength. Because of him, I got to have a family. Because of him, I was able to live. May God forgive me for what I do tomorrow. And may the Lord greet you with open arms and a nice ear scratch. Goodnight my friend, goodbye my brother. May you rest your head tonight knowing how loved you are and how dearly you will be missed.”
Thank you, Cena, and thank you Lance Cpl. Jeffrey DeYoung for your service to our country and to a job well done.