The footage above captures the emotional moment of Cena’s last ride, a former U.S. military bomb-sniffing dog. He served alongside U.S. Marine veteran Lance Cpl. Jeff DeYoung in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2010 as part of President Barack Obama’s surge to take out Taliban.
Cena saved countless lives, even though many more were lost during this 16-year war’s deadliest period. DeYoung and Cena were inseparable during that time. DeYoung said that Cena, his brother, blessed his life with love and admiration, along with happiness and strength. We would venture to guess that DeYoung also changed Cena’s lfe during his short time with us here on earth.
Dogs like Cena are a vital asset to military missions overseas and they perform lifesaving duties in some of the most austere and gravely conditions. Most dog lovers and owners have a unique bond that they share with their furry family member. However, the bond formed between an American troop and a dog that accompanies them into battle, is amazing and indescribable. These service dogs leave a lifelong psychological impact on the brothers and sisters they serve.
DeYoung and Cena parted ways and was separated for almost four years. They were reunited in 2014 when the two were discharged from military service. The pair were together an additional three years, helping DeYoung through difficult times when he had a hard time finding work and went through a divorce.
Cena at some point during his life became stricken with bone cancer. In July of 2017 his conditioned worsened. Fellow Marine Jacobie Baumann held a fundraiser to help pay for a headstone and statue for this amazing service dog. And organized a rally of volunteers that were willing to give Cena a few final rides in open-air Jeeps. In traditional Jeeper fashion, he had no shortage of volunteers.
Cena was euthanized aboard a decommissioned Navy ship in Muskegon, Mich on July 26th 2017 beneath an evening with dark gray clouds. Three rounds of rifle fire were released, and a bugler played the lonely notes to “Taps.”
He was laid to rest at a funeral ceremony at the Michigan War Dog Memorial in Lyon Township.
Cena was born Nov. 1, 2007, he was 10 years-old.