Emotional Farewell: Soldier’s Final Hug with K-9 Companion Highlights an Unbreakable Bond.

While serving in the US Air Force, Sargeant Kyle Smilth met Bodza, his German Shepherd partner. Bodza has been a bomb detector since 2006, helping to save lives by smelling explosives. Around 2012, Smith began working with Bodza, and the two rapidly grew close.

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 told The Dodo.“

Over the years, the two did many missions together and when the day came for Bodza to retire, Sergeant Smith decided to adopt him. “I took him home the same day,” he said.

“He was even more loyal at home,” Smith said. “He followed me around everywhere. He would lay his head down flush with the bed and tell me good night, every night.”

Bodza’s retirement was a happy time, until he was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy in the summer of 2016, an incurable which disease affecting a dog’s spinal cord

He could no longer even stand up, much less walk, because his hind limbs had lost their function, according to Smith. He was unable to take the strain on his body, and going to the bathroom was difficult for him.

Smith had to decide whether to euthanize Bodza, which is a decision no pet owner ever wants to make.

Bodza was brought to the Fort Bliss Veterinary Clinic in El Paso, Texas, by Kyle and nine of his coworkers. He was laid on a blanket and died quietly in his owner’s arms.

“I will never forget how loyal he was,” Smith said. “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.”

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