Marine reunites with military war dog after serving overseas tog - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Marine reunites with military war dog after serving overseas together

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ROMULUS, Mich. (WJBK) - A special reunion took place at Detroit Metro Airport Thursday. A U.S. Marine veteran is back with his military war dog after the two served together in Afghanistan.
    
"I'm surprised I'm not crying right now, I really don't know why I'm not. But the emotions are through the roof. ... It's all my Christmases rolled into one. I just can't replace the feeling and the fact that he remembered me just made it so much better," says Lance Corporal Jeff DeYoung.

DeYoung was waiting at the airport Thursday morning when the plane landed with Cena onboard. He brought a sign reading, 'Welcome home, Cena.'

DeYoung, a Grand Rapids, Mich. native, served in the Marine Corps from 2009 to 2013 and Cena served as his contract working dog for two of those years.

"I was 19 years old in a war zone and it was my first deployment, and it was really great to have a dog there that I could go to," says DeYoung. "I lost quite a few friends overseas and he was always there for that, always by my side helping me through it."

The black lab specialized in detecting IEDs, improvised explosive devices, and is credited of saving the lives of several service members, including DeYoung.

"For every miss and every explosive threat found he saved a life. Every time he got a scent of something we always took more caution. He was instrumental in saving I don't know how many marines' lives. I always owe him that," says DeYoung.

Now Cena is retiring from military service - and DeYoung is adopting him.

"He's not my best friend he's my brother. He is blood family to me right now and he always will be no matter what," DeYoung says.

The American Humane Association and Mission K9 Rescue made the reunion possible.

The groups work together to bring military war dogs back to the U.S. and reconnect them with their former handlers.

"I think it's a healing process for both the four-legged and the two-legged soldier. They just have a bond that we can't understand because we weren't there," says Kristen Maurer of Mission K9 rescue.

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