Cena, hero military dog, laid to rest
Lyon Township — A crowd of nearly 200 paid their last respects Saturday to Cena, a 10-year-old black Labrador from Muskegon who did three tours of duty in Afghanistan.
The ashes of the retired military service dog were buried here at the Michigan War Dog Memorial, where Cena was interned with at least another 12 military service dogs.
Cena lived the past three years with Marine Corporal Jeffrey DeYoung in Muskegon after the dog retired from military service in 2014.
Cena and DeYoung trained together in 2009 before one of the tours in Afghanistan. The dog was injured several times while detecting and detonating IUDs in the field, DeYoung said.
The dog is credited with saving thousands of lives. The dog needed a year of rehabilitative therapy after one of his injuries before he retired, DeYoung said.
“This is his Arlington” National Cemetery, he said.
Cena received full military honors, including a bag pipe rendition of “Amazing Grace” and a ceremonial howling of remembrance by at least nine service dogs.
“Cena has done a fabulous job,” said state Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, “and now he is welcomed home.”
There was a special goodbye ceremony and Jeep ride for Cena on July 26 before he was euthanized on the USS LST 393 because of bone cancer in his leg.
As the chaplain said at the internment, “His small paw print left mighty impressions.”