Sargeant Kyle Smith didn’t hesitate when given the chance to adopt German Shepherd, Bodza. The two had served in the US Air Force together. While in the military the duo served on many missions together. When Bodza was ready for retirement, Smith immediately adopted him and took him home that same night.
Smith and Bodza met in 2012. Bodza was assigned an explosive detection position while Smith was assigned on a 189-day mission to Kyrgyzstan. During that time together Smith and Bodza became tightly bonded. They not only worked together in service to the United States of America, but they also spent a lot of free time playing.
When Bodza retired from duty and came to live with Smith, not a lot had changed as far as playing together. Life was great and there were no special missions to complete. Then in the summer of 2016, Bodza was diagnosed with a spinal cord disease called degenerative myelopathy. The disease affects the coordination of canines. Over time a dog with degenerative myelopathy can no longers stand or walk. Eventually, a dog with this disease becomes a paraplegic.
Smith stayed by Bodza’s side as his dog battled the disease. When Bodza’s body was crippling up, there was a point when Smith knew it was time to release Bodza from his degenerating body. Smith and Bodza had the support of friend’s when it was time for Bodza to put down.
Smith Says Goodbye To His Loyal Friend
Bodza, Smith and 9 of their co-workers entered the Fort Bliss Vet Clinic in El Paso, Texas together. The first priority was to make Bodza as comfortable as possible. They put a blanket on the floor for him to lie down on. Smith was flooded with memories during those final moments of Bodza’s life. “All of us have that dog that is so special to us. I got married with this dog, I got divorced with this dog. I have a son on the way, and the most heartbreaking part is I really wish he was younger, so my son would be able to play with him. He was the nicest dog in the world,” Smith cried.
Smith’s friends supported him through that very tough day. “They let me sob like a baby. They pat me on the back and let me know it was going to be all right. My boss immediately went and grabbed a flag, and draped it over him and let me have a final moment,” Smith said.
Bodza’s body has been cremated. His ashes sit in Smith’s home next to cherished photos. Though Bodza is no longer on this earth, the memories that Smith and Bodza created will remain. Watch the video below and be prepared to shed some tears.