Military Dog Gets Proper, But Heartbreaking Send-Off

This tearful goodbye will tug at your heartstrings, and if you’re American, your patriotism.

By Justyne Yuen-Lee
usairforceCredit: @usairforce

The US Air Force employs many dogs. The people who train them and partner with them develop a special bond that makes separation difficult.


In 2012, Kyle Smith was partnered with military German Shepherd Bodza. After Bodza’s duty was over, Smith adopted him. Smith’s life motto is “through better or worse” and this definitely applied to his relationship with Bodza. Now a military dog trainer, Smith knows how dogs react, think, and behave. And when he found out Bodza had an incurable disease, degenerative myelopathy, he knew Bodza was in constant excruciating pain.

And even though it was a difficult decision, he knew that he had to give Bodza a peaceful passing through euthanasia. He wanted Bodza to have his last moments with his loved ones including his soldier brothers.

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“I held him in my arms the entire time. 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.’”


His heartbreak was hard to hide and when his superiors realized how difficult this was for Smith, his boss requested the American flag to be brought out. They draped the flag over Bodza’s body so he could have a proper hero’s passing.


usairforce2Credit: @usairforce

Some people forget that dogs are a part of the US Air Force and are just as important as their human counterparts. The soldiers, both men and canine, stick together until the end.