Hundreds Attend Farewell Party for Dying Marine Dog

Cena served in Afghanistan before becoming a service dog
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 28, 2017 12:09 AM CDT
Cena is seen in Muskegon, Mich., on Wednesday.   (Joel Bissell)
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(Newser) – Hundreds of people in Michigan came together to say a tear-filled final goodbye to a cancer-stricken dog who served three tours in Afghanistan with the US Marines, reports the AP. Cena the 10-year-old black lab received a hero's farewell Wednesday before being euthanized at the USS LST 393, a museum ship in Muskegon, and carried off in a flag-draped coffin. Cena, who was recently diagnosed with terminal bone cancer, was a bomb-sniffer for the Marines until his retirement in 2014. The celebration for Cena was organized by Lance Cpl. Jeff DeYoung, who was paired with the dog in 2009 and 2010 while on a combat tour in Afghanistan and who adopted him in 2014. Cena then became DeYoung's service dog to help him with his PTSD.

DeYoung called Cena "one of the biggest pieces of my life." He 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. DeYoung took his dog on one last ride in a topless Jeep that was decorated and named "Cancer Response Team." The ceremony was attended by the US Marine Corps League and area police officers. Attendees gave one final three-volley salute as "Taps" played for Cena, who was wearing a decorated blue Marine vest. (Read more Marines stories.)

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