CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An image making waves across the internet shows the painful loss of an unspoken bond between a man and his dog, who both served this country.
K9 partner Bodza was paired with Staff Sgt. Kyle Smith for four deployments and provided security for many U.S. officials, WSOC reports.
When Bodza retired in 2014, the North Carolina native took him home as a pet.
Over the past several months, Bodza had been sick. He eventually had to be put down.
Smith gave Bodza a final meal at McDonald’s — a Big Mac to be exact.
When Bodza was put down, Smith was by his side.
“I hugged him and told him that I loved him a lot, ‘I’m gonna miss you,’” Smith told WSOC.
When a fellow military canine trainer draped an American flag over Bodza, it meant a lot to Smith. He gave his friend one final hug, which was captured in the now iconic photo.
“He was as much a part of the Air Force as me,” Smith said. “I couldn’t have done the mission I did without him there.”