Soldier gives his beloved K-9 one last hug in heartbreaking farewell

The bond between humans and dogs is strong—especially when they’ve have been through as much as German Shepherd Bodza and Sargeant Kyle Smith have.

The two met while serving in the US Air Force together and instantly became best friends. Over the years, they served on many missions together, and when it came time for Bodza to retire him, Sargeant Smith adopted him.

Bodza’s retirement was a happy time, until he came down with an incurable, dehabiltating disease.

Then last month, 11-year-old Bodza was laid to rest. And now a beautiful, heartbreaking photo of Sargeant Smith and his best friend is bringing animal lovers everywhere to tears. Scroll down to see the picture and learn more about their friendship.

United States Air Force sergeant Kyle Smith met German Shepherd Bodza back in 2012. Bodza was an explosive detection dog and the two of them were both assigned to a 189-day mission to Kyrgyzstan.

Kyle and Bodza became fast friends and spent almost as much time playing together as they did working on their security detail.

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Kyle Smith

So when it came time for Bodza to retire, Kyle didn’t hesitate for a second before adopting him.

“I took him home the same day,” Kyle told the Dodo.

After his retirement, Bodza happily traded hanging out on the job for playing with his best friend at home.

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Kyle Smith

Then in the summer of 2016, Bodza was diagnosed with an incurable spinal cord disease called degenerative myelopathy. At first, the disease causes affected dogs to lose their coordination. Then over time, they lose the ability to walk and finally become paraplegic.

Kyle was devastated to see his friend’s health slowly worsen. And by March of this year, the pain of Bodza’s illness had become excruciating. Kyle was faced with a situation that no dog owner ever wants to experience. It was time for him to have his beloved Bodza put down.

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Kyle Smith

Kyle and nine of his co-workers brought Bodza to Fort Bliss Vet Clinic in El Paso, Texas. They placed a blanket on the floor and made sure Bodza was as comfortable as possible during his final moments.

After all that these two had been through together, it was understandably overhwhelming. Kyle couldn’t hold back the tears to see his best friend leave this world. But luckily, he had his coworkers there to support him.

“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.”

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Kyle Smith

Smith told Inside Edition, “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.”

Kyle had Bodza cremated and keeps his ashes at home, along with photos of four-legged friend.

Watch a news story about Kyle and Bodza here:

What a beautiful friendship and an incredible bond! It shows you how close dogs and humans can really be.

Thanks for your service, Bodza! Rest in peace.

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