When Kyle Smith was paired with Bodza, a trained military German Shepherd, during his 2012 deployment to Kyrgyzstan, he developed a special bond with the dog. When it came time for Bodza to retire in 2014, Smith’s boss surprised the soldier with the adoption papers. He knew Smith wanted to give Bodza a forever home with a lot of love.
Smith described Bodza as a gentle giant and said, “He was trained to bite, but I swear he only did it to make people happy. He had no interest in the world of hurting anyone.”
As the years went by, Smith noticed that his beloved partner was having some trouble walking. He hoped it was minor hip dysplasia, but after some time it became obvious that Bodza was in pain. A veterinarian diagnosed the pup with degenerative myelopathy, and incurable disease that affects the spinal cord. Smith’s heart broke when he finally made the decision that it was time to let go and put Bodza down.
As the 11-year-old dog was passing. Smith held him in his arms. Smith’s superiors arrived as Bodza was taking his last breaths. One of them asked for an American flag so Smith could honor his partner one last time and recognize his service to the country.
Smith said, “All of us have that dog that is so special to us… 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.” As dog lovers, we can all understand Smith’s heartbreak. We never have enough time with our best friends, but Smith and Bodza made the best of the time they had together. Rest in peace, Bodza.