When Military Dog Was Euthanized, Airmen Made Sure He Had A Proper Send-Off

When you think of members of the military, you probably think about all the men and women who have made sacrifices to secure our freedom. Sometimes we forget that not all those in the Armed Forces are actually humans.

Many dogs faithfully serve in the Armed Forces in dangerous situations, risking their own health and safety in order to protect the people around them.

Many of these dogs, if they live to see retirement, are adopted by their handlers. This is always a happy occasion because it means they're going to be loved and cared for until the end of their days, and they're going to give back lots of love.

One dog's day had come, and it was rough on his owner; but, thankfully, his brothers in Arms were around.

Bodza, a German Shepard, was drafted by the U.S. Airforce in 2006. The brave pooch worked tirelessly in Iraq, Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan sniffing out bombs. It would be impossible to count the numerous lives Bodza saved, not to mention the missions that ended successfully, by doing his daily job.

In 2012, Bodza was put into the hands of Kyle Smith. Smith, a military dog handler, thought Bodza was one of the most talented dogs he'd ever seen. The two worked well together, and they bonded over their work.

The two buddies were known for being playful when off duty. They'd always be running around the compound, barking at shadows and having fun. It came as no surprise when Bodza retired in 2014 and Smith put in a request to adopt the dog.

Bodza was thrilled to go home with Smith. He went on to live a nice, quiet life in retirement. Smith says Bodza always followed him around, and slept next to his bed every night. The two were inseparable.

Old age began getting the best of Bodza, though. When he turned 11, he was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that would get progressively painful and rob Bodza's ability to walk. Smith took care of Bodza for as long as he could, but the disease was incurable.

“His hind limbs lost their use and he could barely stand up anymore, much less walk,” Smith told The Dodo. “He couldn’t handle the stress on his body and using the restroom was a task.”

Once Bodza was in such bad pain he could no longer stand, Smith didn't have the heart to let the pup go on suffering. He decided to have Bodza euthanized.

Smith went to the veterinarian's office, but not alone. His supervisors and fellow Airmen went with him.

As the vet put Bodza to sleep, Smith held him and said goodbye. His friends comforted him as he cried it out.

A supervisor turned to the vet asked him for an American Flag. The vet brought one over, and the supervisor draped it over the dog's body. They wanted to ensure Bodza a proper military sendoff.

“The worst thing you can do is not to recognize these dogs for what they are,” said Smith to Inside Edition. “For these guys to do this for a dog they’ve never even met… he got a good sendoff that day.”

Source: Animal Channel
Photo: YouTube

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