K9 Cena's life ended on July 26 but his impact on Marine veteran Jeff DeYoung and the country is lasting.
Cena, a black lab, and Lance Cpl. DeYoung served a successful tour in Afghanistan, fulfilling their mission to sniff out IEDs and bring the soldiers they served with back alive. Upon DeYoung's return the two were unceremoniously separated for years. Those turned out to be the darkest years of DeYoung's life, marred by alcoholism and suicidal thoughts. That is until, after a significant struggle on DeYoung's part to find Cena, the two were reunited and took on a new mission: changing the way the military handles military dogs once they're retired.
Cena was diagnosed with aggressive bone cancer last month, which left him in severe pain and unable to walk. DeYoung decided the best thing was to end his suffering, as painful as it would be for the two to be separated again—this time for good.
After DeYoung asked to borrow a Jeep Wrangler for a top-down final ride with Cena, people from all over his home state of Michigan responded and an event honoring Cena's service was organized by the Patriot Guard Riders and the U.S. Marine Corps League.