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Airman Drapes American Flag Over Former Military Dog Partner’s Body

Bodza, an 11-year-old military working dog, was put down last week due to
health complications after a lifetime of serving his country.

“I held him in my arms the entire time,” the dog’s former handler Staff
Sergeant, Kyle Smith, who adopted Bodza after the canine’s retirement,
said. “I’ve never cried that much my entire life.”

Smith, who was paired with Bodza in 2012 during a deployment in
Kyrgyzstan, said he didn’t find out he would put his dog down until earlier
the same afternoon.

“It was the saddest thing — he was dragging himself along the tile floor
because it was hard to maneuver. Instead of putting him on the table, I
had a minute with him on the floor,” Smith explained. “I just kept holding
him, rubbing and kissing his head, telling him, ‘I’m going to miss you.'”
Although he tried to hide his heartbreak from his superiors, he explained
they arrived at the veterinarian’s office the moment they found out Bodza
was being euthanized. Afterwards, they had a request.

“My boss immediately said, ‘Where’s your American flag? You should have
one in your building. Find it for me now.'” Smith said.

They then draped the flag over Bodza’s body, in recognition for his service
to the country.

To find out more about adopting military working dogs after service,