Jeff De Young has a very special friend. His name is Cena, and the two have been pretty close since 2009. That is when they were paired to work together in Afghanistan. During combat, Cena was De Young’s bomb-detection Labrador.
According to Mashable,
[In Afghanastan], “Kid and Chicken”, as they were nicknamed, were in charge of walking in front of patrol units in search of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
“He’d been trained to detect more than 300 different types of explosives and if he smelled something interesting on patrol he would lie down and notify me, and then I’d call in an explosives technician,” De Young told the BBC.
After coming back from war, De Young started suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTSD) and separation anxiety from being away from Cena.
It would take them four years before being reunited again, as De Young agreed to adopt Cena. The dog quickly became his service dog, helping him with healing and support for PTSD.
Sadly, Cena was just diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. De Young wants to do everything in his power to honor his loyal companion. He has set up a GoFundMe page in order to raise some money to rent a Jeep Wrangler (for the two to ride in together one last time), and to buy a headstone worthy of Cena’s brave service. He is hoping that his pup will be buried in the Michigan War Dog Memorial, and that TAPS will be played as he walks into the vet for the very last time.