Dogs play a role in the military just like they do for police departments around the world. A German Shepherd named Bodza spent time with human soldiers in the United States Air Force starting his 2006. His job was to stiff out bombs and he spent time in Kuwait, Iraq and Kyrgyzstan doing this. His work has saved countless lives. This goes to show you that dogs truly can be man’s best friend even in a literal warzone.
Kyle Smith started working as a dog handler and in 2012, he and Bodza got a chance to meet. The two quickly developed a strong bond and Bodza was one of the first dogs that the soldier got a chance to work with. Bodza was incredibly talented at sniffing out bombs and this is something that immediately impressed Smith. He also says that the dog just did not take himself too seriously. When he was not out trying to make things safer for his fellow soldiers, he was just like any other dog. He liked to relax, play and go on walks. He would bark and shadows and just be goofy on his off-time around the compound.
In 2014, Bodza retired after years of service to the United States. Smith immediately asked if he could adopt the dog that he had developed a strong bond with. The request was granted and the two went back to Smith’s quiet home to live as civilians in peace. Smith says that Bodza followed him around and every night, he slept right next to the bed.
Around the time when Bodza celebrated his eleventh birthday, he started to experience a decline in his health. Smith took him to a veterinarian and the news that the two received was absolutely heartbreaking. Bodza received a diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy which means that over time, he was going to lose his ability to walk. This is a condition affecting the spinal cord and it is progressive and incurable.
In 2016 once the summer began, Bodza was barely able to get off the floor and it was clear that he was in intense pain. While it was a very painful choice for Smith, he decided that he had to take the dog to the vet one last time and end his suffering.
Smith, his supervisors and his Air Force brothers all went on that final trip to the vet with Bodza. Smith was on the floor with him and said goodbye through tears. Those with him gave him the comfort that they could.
Immediately after Bodza was put to sleep, Smith’s supervisor asked the vet to quickly retrieve an American flag and they draped it over Bodza because he was a member of the military and deserved the proper send-off.
This story is both beautiful and heartbreaking. Bodza not only saved dozens of people during his time in the Middle East, but he was also Smith’s best friend. This is a story that is sure to bring any person to tears because it is one of heroism and unbreakable friendship.