There is something very special about military dogs. Not only are the exceptionally loyal, but they are known for building bonds and protecting soldiers with everything they have.
When U.S. Airman, Kyle Smith was paired with a German Shepherd named, Bodza, while deployed to Kyrgyzstan, the two formed an instant bond. In fact, they got so close that Kyle adopted Bodza after the dog’s duty was over. The two spent a lot of time together and like most dog owners, Kyle thought of Bodza as his best friend. Kyle had been so inspired by the German Shepherd that he became a military dog instructor.
While Bodza lived a long and loving life, he became the victim of of degenerative myelopathy at 11 years old. The condition is incurable and it affects his spinal cord, making it nearly impossible to move without being in excruciating pain. Knowing that Bodza was not living the life that he loved and was so used to, Kyle decided it was best to give his best friend a peaceful passing. While the decision to euthanize a pet is never easy, Kyle knew that it was for the best.
In the last moment of his life, Bodza was surrounded by Kyle and his fellow soldier brothers.
“I held him in my arms the entire time,” said Kyle. “I’ve never cried that much my entire life… I just kept holding him, rubbing and kissing his head, telling him, ‘I’m going to miss you.’”
While Kyle tried to hide his emotions from his superiors, they soon found out and came to console him immediately, while also making a shocking request. Kyle’s boss demanded that Kyle get the American flag that hung in his building. When the flag was retrieved, they draped it over Bodza’s body, making sure to give the pup a well-deserved hero’s passing.
“The worst thing you can do is not to recognize these dogs for what they are,” Kyle said. “For these guys to do this for a dog they’ve never even met… he got a good sendoff that day.”
Kyle was moved by the kindness and acts of his fellow soldiers and it made the day a little easier.
Several commenters shared their similar stories…
“I know exactly how he feels, I had to put my dog down when he was 15, he had lost his hearing and was blind and had lost most of his teeth and could barely walk.. it broke my heart when I had to take him to the vet for the last time and I too cried my eyes out when I had to say goodbye, I told him I was sorry and that I loved him. I had him since he was 9 weeks old. He was my sidekick and best buddy.”
“You’re a class act Kyle. So very sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you for your service Bodza. God speed and rest easy. We have the watch.”
“I totally know how much it hurts to lose your dog… I lost mine 24th February 2017 and he was only 8,5. There was something wrong with his back and we didn’t want to put him through the pain that it would give him during the healing process.”