A man and his dog are one of the most immovable combinations on the planet. Combine that with the bond that war creates between comrades and you have a timeless connection regardless of what life throws back.
U.S. Marine veteran Jeff DeYoung trained and served with his black lab, Cena, who became a master in bomb detection. They had been strategically paired due to their personalities and of course formed an unbreakable bond.
Together they served three tours in Afghanistan; spotting, recognizing, and sniffing out over 300 different types of explosives. Generally the pair, known as “Kid and Chicken”, would patrol ahead of the unit.
Photos courtesy of www.facebook.com/jeffdeyoung
They would search the road for IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and if Cena found one, he would lie down. This was the signal for Jeff to call the explosives technician to come remove the hazard.
When Jeff came back from the war, he suffered a terrible four-year period away from Cena in which PTSD and separation anxiety crept into his life.
At last, the opportunity came up for Jeff to adopt Cena and he wasted no time quickly making him his service dog.
They were going to spend the rest of their lives in retirement but unfortunately, Cena has recently been diagnosed with bone cancer leaving him with mere weeks to live. The inspiration only begins there as Jeff has been working tirelessly to put together and execute a bucket list. He hopes the two of them can live out the last weeks of Cena’s life doing all sorts of exciting things.
He is looking to borrow a soft-top Jeep Wrangler that he can remove the top from, allowing Cena to put his face straight in the wind.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help cover expenses such as rent, “awesome food that he can stuff his face into and gets to eat”, and a statue or head stone just as beautiful as the wonderful dog it represents.
Poor Cena will have to be put down because even the amputation of a limb will only give him a few months if he survives. So Jeff is putting together a heroes farewell. He wants a hand salute for Cena as he goes into the vet’s office the final time.
The support that both of them has been getting through social media is very inspiring. The story breaks our hearts because we can only imagine the pain that Jeff is going through.
We thank you, Jeff and Cena, for your heroism and service to our country.
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