Cena's final ride. The canine hero was given a proper sendoff in Muskegon, Mich. on Wednesday. Photo courtesy: FOX 17.
MUSKEGON, Mich. (WJBK) - Hundreds of people in Michigan came together to salute and say a tear-filled final goodbye to a cancer-stricken dog who served three tours in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines.
Cena was a bomb-sniffer for the Marines until his retirement in 2014. He then became a service dog for Lance Cpl. Jeff DeYoung, Cena's first wartime partner. According to De young's GoFundMe page, Cena saved hundreds of Marines in combat in Afghanistan.
The black lab was recently diagnosed with terminal bone cancer and DeYoung wanted to give him a send off with a ride in an open top Jeep. On Wednesday, he got the ride for Cena as he received a hero's farewell Wednesday being euthanized.
Several other Jeeps and motorcycles joined Cena for the ride in Muskegon.
The Jeep was decorated and named "Cancer Response Team." It made its way to the USS LST 393, where Cena was euthanized.
"It's overwhelming," DeYoung told FOX 17. "Of course, veterans always know you have to be early everywhere, but at the same time the amount of veterans and the amount of family that have showed up, it's remarkable to say the least."
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO FROM FOX 17
DeYoung and Cena were deployed to Afghanistan and in 2014, he was able to adopt the dog after they both served. Cena later became his service dog when he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
A local business made a set of custom dress blues for Cena, which he would wear before the veterinarian put him down Wednesday night.
"Every Marine has to go out in a set of dress blues," said DeYoung. "That's just the way we are. He's got his ribbons, he's got his decorations, he's dressed to the nines. He got a fresh grooming service today and we are ready to make peace with what we have to do."
In his final moments with Corporal Young, the heroes took one final walk together as he got one final salute.
On Wednesday, DeYoung posted an update on the GoFundMe page that read "Rest In Peace brother. I hope to meet you upstairs if I make it . Love you bud. Mans best friend."