Tearful Story of Soldier Who Mourned Death of His Dog by Draping Him in American Flag
Here's a tear-jerking story about a soldier named Kyle Smith who said farewell to a German Shepherd by draping him with an American national flag.
Smith and Bodza were best friends while serving as members of the US Air Force, as reported by The Dodo.
Faced with the hardest decision of his life, Smith decided to put an end to his best friend's suffering.
Bodza was a bomb detection dog who helped save many lives in Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan. Together, they survived 189 days of security mission in the cold region of Kyrgyzstan.
The two developed an extraordinary friendship that Smith, without hesitation, adopted Bodza later on. They lived a good life together.
"I loved working with him because he taught me a lot -- patience as a young handler, and how to understand that this job isn't just about you," Smith told The Dodo.
"Bodza was a goofy and gentle dog," he added. "We had horse stables directly beside our obedience yard, and when [the horses] were out, no obedience was going to be done. He'd run the fence line continuously."
But in 2016, Bodza was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy, an incurable disease that affects a dog's spinal cord.
"His hind limbs lost their use, and he could barely stand up anymore, much less walk," Smith explained. "He couldn't handle the stress on his body and using the restroom was a task."
The dog's health deteriorated, and he was extremely sad. Faced with the hardest decision of his life, Smith decided to put an end to his best friend's suffering.
He and his co-workers took the dying dog to the Fort Bliss Vet Clinic in El Paso, Texas, and lay him down on a blanket to put him to eternal sleep. They placed a flag over his body to honor the brave and heroic dog.
"I will never forget how loyal he was," Smith said. "He was selfless - more than any human I've ever known. He's done so much for next to nothing and did it with a smile. I miss him every day."
The devastated soldier had Bodza cremated. He kept his ashes at home along with photos of the dog.