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A Community Pay Their Respects To A Retired Marine Dog Stricken With Cancer

July 28, 2017

Heroes are not just men and women, they're our best four-legged friends too. Ten years ago, Jeff DeYoung was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan after basic training.  Before he headed into combat he completed a personality test to become a bomb detection dog handler and was paired with a black Labrador Retriever named Cena.  The young Marine remembered the first time he met Cena, recalling how their personalities meshed quite well. The match was only strengthened as the two worked together in finding IEDs and bombs.  DeYoung shielded Cena when taking on gunfire and Cena kept DeYoung warm during cold desert nights.  In all, the two served three tours in Afghanistan and both retired from the armed services in 2014.  DeYoung quickly adopted Cena, who also served as his therapy dog to aid in his PTSD recovery.  About two weeks ago, DeYoung noticed that Cena was limping and not walking on his back leg.  After an examination the horrible news was revealed that Cena had aggressive bone cancer.  DeYoung was beyond devastated as the two had been through so much together for a decade.  What started as a bucket list turned out to unite a small Michigan town together to honor the dog. DeYoung had approached a car dealer to borrow a Jeep so he could take Cena for a ride.  After the dealership learned more about Cena word spread throughout town, where people donated money to pay for the vet bill, funeral services and even created a parade to honor Cena.  People from Muskegon, police, fire and military all showed to pay their respects to Cena.  A tearful DeYoung carried Cena the final steps to be euthanized as attendees gave one final three-volley salute with 'Taps' playing in the background. DeYoung plans to keep the remains of Cena with him as the bond between the veterans reminds us of the special relationship man has with dog.

SOURCE: Fox 8 Cleveland

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