Soldiers who serve overseas often find comfort by forming bonds with each other. Others find the courage to continue when they form a unique bond with an animal. When Air Force veteran Kyle Smith deployed, he always counted on his military service dog Bodza to get him through the toughest times.
A Loyal Companion
Bodza was a German Shepherd who accompanied Smith on four deployments to Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan. Smith is a specialist in dog training for the Air Force, and Bodza was the first dog he trained.
When Bodza retired after years of brave service, Smith adopted him as a pet. Over the years, their bond grew stronger than ever. They became best friends and staunchly loyal companions.
It Was Time to Face a New Fight
Two years later, they faced a new fight together when Bodza was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy, a painful and disabling spinal condition. Smith made the heart-wrenching decision to put Bodza down to end his suffering.
At the veterinarian’s office, Smith hugged Bodza and said goodbye as the dog’s life slipped away. At that moment, one of Smith’s colleagues found an American flag to drape over Bodza’s body. The pictures from that scene are deeply moving.
A Fitting Tribute to a Fallen Hero
The flag was a fitting way to honor a military dog. It’s certain that Smith will never forget the brave, strong and loyal friend who lived and died a hero.
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