Marine Dog Veteran With Terminal Cancer Gets A Proper Hero’s Goodbye
There are many things to appreciate about dogs but their loyalty is near the top of the list. That loyalty is seen when a dog is part of the family as well as when they are on the front lines. One person who is familiar with this more than most is Marine veteran Jeff DeYoung.
DeYoung partnered with his dog, Cena thanks to a personality test when he was only 19 years old. The black lab was sniffing out bombs in Afghanistan for three tours. DeYoung is a combat engineer and he said the dog helped to keep him warm when it got cold in the desert at night and provided comfort when seven friends were lost within a three-week span.
Cena later became his companion when he returned to the states. DeYoung adopted Cena as his service dog in 2014 because he suffers from PTSD. In mid July things changed because the dog was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer.
“My whole adult life I’ve had Cena,” DeYoung told the Marine Corp Times. “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.”
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Only days remained for his faithful companion, so Andy Young compiled a bucket list for him. It included a ride in his Jeep Wrangler.
When it was time for them to say goodbye, they rode in the Jeep with the top down. There was also a convoy of jeeps and motorcycles that followed them as they celebrated Cena’s life.
All in all, over 100 people had gathered to honor the 10-year-old Labrador. Civilians and veterans came up to pet and kiss the dog before they saluted him. Young then carried him onto the USS LST 393, a museum ship in Muskegon, Michigan, where he was euthanized.
A GoFundMe account was set up to help with veterinary bills and a burial plot. They also wanted a statue at the Michigan poor dog Memorial, and the requested funds were exceeded within days.