Endings are inevitable. There’s just no way around it. No matter what we do, we cannot stop something from coming to an end – even if it is a very good thing for our community and us. So, when a loyal and dedicated military dog was diagnosed with terminal cancer, its community knew that it had to give the pooch a sendoff worthy of a military hero – and that’s exactly what they did.
Because the dog, which served in the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, it was clear that the symptoms were painful. The cancer could not be cured by treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. And it was too late for the doctors to complete surgery to remove the cancerous growth. With no other options, the only way to ensure that this dedicated military dog got the ending it deserved was to put it to sleep with a proper sendoff.
The dog in these images, Cena, was diagnosed with bone cancer. With no humane treatment options, the only way for the military to proceed was to put the dog down the right way.
In Muskegon, Michigan, Cena, the black lab, was given a hero’s sendoff before being put to sleep. Hundreds of people came out to support the canine and to celebrate the heroic life the dog had given to the military.
Cena served three tours in Afghanistan with the United States Marines. As a bomb-sniffer dog, Cena saved lives and did difficult work. He worked in the military all his life after he completed his puppy training. And when he retired in 2014, he was given the opportunity to be a service dog for Lance Cpl. Jeff DeYoung, Cena’s first wartime partner.
The terminal bone cancer diagnosis was a nightmare for DeYoung. He had come to rely on Cena for support and was sad to see the dog reach the end of its journey.
But DeYoung refused to let Cena go quietly into the dark night. Instead, he organized a celebration worthy of a war hero. Hundreds of people came to town to see Cena enjoy one final ride in a topless Jeep, which was decorated and named the “Cancer Response Team.”
DeYoung realized that something was wrong with Cena when the dog would not put weight on his front leg. A visit to the vet revealed the terminal cancer diagnosis. Cena was put to rest on July 26, 2017, in his hometown in Michigan.
Images from Cena’s final ride show that the entire community came out to support the dedicated dog. With a parade of motorcycles accompanying the topless Jeep, Cena got to parade through town like a true hero.
The final image shows DeYoung in tears as he carries Cena back to the Jeep after he was put to sleep. Other people are shown saluting the Marine and the remains of his beloved service dog as they pass. This was a very sad moment for the Lance Corporeal.
What do you think about this military dog’s heroic sendoff?
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