Cancer-Stricken Marine Dog Gets Hero's Send-Off


In Muskegon, Michigan, hundreds of people turning out for a final farewell for a Marine dog.

The ride started and ended at the USS LST 393, a World War II ship-turned-museum in Muskegon.

Cena served three tours in Afghanistan (Picture: AP) Cena was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer two weeks ago (Picture: AP) Lance Cpl.

The lab's owner, Marine veteran Jeff DeYoung, was the dog's handler for a 2009 to 2010 tour in Afghanistan. A service dog in his retirement, Cena helped DeYoung cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and other personal challenges.

"Whenever I grab his vest off the peg and he says, 'Where we going today?' Just him", he continued.

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"We walked in front of the group that we served with and everything that they faced, we faced first", DeYoung said of his time overseas with Cena.

The two settled in MI where Wednesday in the last hours of Cena's life the now retired DeYoung, reminisced about his four-legged comrade.

"My whole adult life I've had Cena. And now I'm 27 and I'm having to say goodbye to one of the biggest pieces of my life".

Cena was given a three-volley salute during the playing of "Taps".

Cena and DeYoung served 9 months together in Afghanistan, only to be separated upon their return stateside, where DeYoung faced wrestled emotionally.

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DeYoung said he'd miss the small things about Cena the most.

A beloved cancer-stricken dog is dead, but the love and memories felt by many in attendance at Wednesday's military dog farewell ceremony in MI will go on.

To help create a headstone for Cena, a GoFundMe page has been launched. DeYoung took the military dog to a veterinarian where the Lab was diagnosed with an "aggressive form" of bone cancer. Hundreds of contributors wrote messages thanking Cena and DeYoung for their service.

"My last night with Cena", he wrote.

DeYoung said the hero's goodbye was exactly what his best friend deserved.

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"He's not just a pup, he's not just a dog, he's family and he's a Marine just the same".