As an explosion detection dog for the U.S. Air Force, Bodza had saved countless lives. A recent photo of a soldier and his dog proves their unbreakable bond — even as they said their final goodbyes. After many years of service in the U.S. Air Force, Bodza the German Shepherd eventually reached his retirement day.
The explosion detection dog had saved countless lives by sniffing out bombs in Iraq, Kyrgyzstan and Kuwait, and now he needed a new home. But for his handler Kyle Smith, adoption was a no brainer. “I took him home the same day,” Smith told The Dodo.
After pairing up in 2012, the duo once spent 189 days together in Kyrgyzstan on a security mission. “I loved working with him because he taught me a lot — patience as a young handler, and how to understand that this job isn’t just about you,” Smith said.Back in Texas, Bodza approached his new life with the same care and devotion. “He was even more loyal at home,” Smith told The Dodo. “He followed me around everywhere. He would lay his head down flush with the bed and tell me goodnight, every night.”
That’s what made last summer’s tragic news especially painful. A vet diagnosed Bodza with degenerative myelopathy, a fatal disease that causes the progressive degeneration of a dog’s spinal cord. Soon Bodza could barely stand up, let alone walk. Smith had to make the difficult decision to put his best friend down. Alongside fellow servicemen at their military vet clinic, Smith hugged his friend one last time. “I was holding Bodza as he passed,” Smith told The Dodo. “He had a smile on his face when he was getting put to sleep.”
In a touching gesture, Smith’s boss draped a flag over Bodza after they shared that moment. “There was heartache and peace all at once that came over me,” Smith said. “I will never forget how loyal he was … He was selfless — more than any human I’ve ever known. He’s done so much for next to nothing and did it with a smile. I miss him every day.” Rest in peace, Bodza.
source: WOMAN’S DAY