Air Force Sergeant cradles dead military dog draped in US flag after heartbreaking decision to put him down
Kyle Smith served four military tours with Bodza and adopted him in 2014 when the German Shepherd was retired from duty
(Photo: Kyle Smith)
These tear-jerking pictures show the moment an Air Force dog handler cradled his dead cannine partner draped in the US flag.
Sergeant Kyle Smith, from North Carolina, bid an emotional farewell to four-legged companion Bodza after the German Shepherd was put down.
A picture showed Kyle’s giving his partner a tender hug as the dead dog was draped in the US flag.
Thousands have shared the picture since it emerged on social media.
Kyle said the decision to put down Bodza was one of the hardest he has ever had to make.
The pair served side-by-side on four military tours before the soldier adopted him when Bodza retired in 2014.
Kyle noticed the dog’s health began to suffer last year when he had trouble jumping on the back of his truck.
As his symptoms worsened, Bodza was diagnosed him with degenerative myelopathy.
It led Kyle to make the heartbreaking decision to put him down to end his suffering.
He remained by Bodza’s side as he took his final breaths.
Kyle told WSOC he said “I’m going to miss you” during the pair’s last moments.
He said: “I hugged him and told him that I loved him a lot, ‘I’m gonna miss you’. He was as much a part of the Air Force as me. I couldn’t have done the mission I did without him there.”
Kyle also revealed he bought Bodza a final treat from McDonald’s before the emotional farewell.
He added: “He got a Big Mac. He didn’t leave a crumb.”.