Here at Rainbow Bridge, we honor our veterans. Whenever some soul who has served passes to the Immortal Side the other veterans put on their uniforms, and we others stand as attention, as a ceremonial fife and drum corps leads them to their true forever home.
This week I had the immense honor of swearing Cena, a Marine dog from Muskegon, Michigan to Rainbow Bridge. He was accompanied by heavy clouds of rain holding the tears of all who mourned him. When these cleared the cheers from all of us who respected him rang out over the mountains and valleys
Cena had spent ten-years on the mortal side. He had retired from the Marines with honors. He was never wounded in battle but he could not escape the heartless damage caused by the bone cancer that took him away from his comrades.
Cena had been partnered with Lance Cpl. Jeff DeYoung in 2009 for a nine-month stint in Afghanistan. His duty was a very important one. He had to sniff out bombs to keep his comrades alive.
When their tour of duty was completed Cena and DeYoung were rotated back to the United States. As per course, they were separated. DeYoung suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The doctors realized what would be best for DeYoung was to be reunited with Cena, who had been retrained as a service dog. They would spend the next four years together.
It is true with all pets and their parents, but maybe more so when you have gone through great stress with one another, that the bond is unbreakable. “My whole adult life I've had Cena. When I was 19 overseas learning how to be responsible, I had Cena. And now I'm 27 and I'm having to say goodbye to one of the biggest pieces of my life,” DeYoung told NBC’s Nightly News. “This dog saved my life. I trust him more than I trust most human beings.”
Cena was given a hero’s send off. He was paraded past crowds of adoring fans in an open jeep. Everyone waved goodbye to their protector. DeYoung, in his uniform, took Cena from the jeep and carried him in his arms to the veterinarian who helped him cross over to Rainbow Bridge.
Since arriving here Cena has desperately tried to let Jeff know he is still with him For any parent, losing a pup is devastating, but when that pup was by your side through the horrors of war, and then helped heal you from the effects of the war, the loss is immeasurable.
Most of all Cena has to find a new therapy dog for Jeff to hit him deal with the travails of everyday life and heal his heart from Cena’s loss and his own sacrifices.
I am sure Cena will be successful at his tasks.
Never bet against a military dog