Dozens of people lined the streets of Muskegon, Michigan in late July to bid a final farewell to Cena, a ten-year-old black Marine Lab.
Cena, who served as a bomb sniffing dog in Afghanistan, was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer earlier this year.
He was paired with his handler, Lance Cpl. Jeff DeYoung, in 2009, when he was just a pup as part of a nine month tour in Afghanistan.
Although DeYoung and Cena were separated after their return to the U.S., DeYoung was able to adopt him years later. Since then, Cena served as a service dog to DeYoung, to cope with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“My whole adult life I’ve had Cena. 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. This dog saved my life. I trust him more than I trust most human beings,” told DeYoung to NBC Nightly News.
A GoFundMe page was setup for Cena to raise money for “awesome food,” to cover his medical bills, to purchase a headstone or statue for the dog, and rent a jeep with a top down “so he can stick his head out and catch some wind before his trip upstairs,” says the page.
The $40,000 target has long been surpassed.
The lab will be laid to rest on Aug. 26. Cena will receive full military honours.