Hundreds turned out to say goodbye to the hero dog whose Marine veteran partner put together a bucket list for him after he was diagnosed with bone cancer. Cena, a black lab who served three tours in Afghanistan as a bomb-sniffer with the Marines, lived his final years with Lance Cpl. Jeff DeYoung, as his service dog.
DeYoung and Cena were first paired in 2009 after a personality test, and later deployed to Afghanistan together. In 2014, the pair reunited when DeYoung adopted Cena as his service dog for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He said having Cena around made it easier for him to be in public.
Last week, a veterinarian diagnosed 10-year-old Cena with bone cancer and gave him weeks to live. DeYoung set out to create lasting memories with his beloved pooch, which included taking a ride in a Jeep with the top off. DeYoung’s wish came true on Wednesday, as he and Cena piled into a decorated Jeep named “Cancer Response Team” for one last ride together.
Cena wore his decorated Marine vest as DeYoung carried him in front of hundreds to a museum ship in Muskegon, where he was euthanized. He was carried off in a flag-draped coffin.
“We walked in front of the group that we served with and everything that they faced, we faced first,” DeYoung previously told Fox 17 of his service with Cena. “Overseas it was me and him against the world.”
A GoFundMe page was started to help DeYoung cover the cost of a headstone.