An 11-year-old German shepherd named Bodza who served his country overseas was put down last week due to health complications and his handler, Air Force veteran Kyle Smith, was with him until he drew his last breath.
Bodza and Smith first became acquainted during a deployment to Kyrgyzstan in 2012 and after Bodza’s retirement, Smith adopted him. As Bodza’s health declined, Smith made the grueling decision to end his suffering. Smith held Bodza as he was euthanized and later noted that he never cried so much in his entire life.
“It was the saddest thing — he was dragging himself along the tile floor because it was hard to maneuver. Instead of putting him on the table, I had a minute with him on the floor,” Smith explained. “I just kept holding him, rubbing and kissing his head, telling him, ‘I’m going to miss you.'”
Smith said he tried to hide his emotions as his superiors entered the building, but he was not able. His superiors, however, had a request from the staff at the veterinary clinic.
“My boss immediately said, ‘Where’s your American flag? You should have one in your building. Find it for me now.'” Smith said.
The staff found a flag and Smith, recognizing his service, draped it over Bodza.
“The worst thing you can do is not to recognize these dogs for what they are,” Smith said. “For these guys to do this for a dog they’ve never even met… he got a good sendoff that day.
[ Mediaite ]