When airman Kyle Smith was paired up with Bodza the German shepherd for his deployment in Kyrgyzstan, it was love at first sight. Not only was the military dog skilled at his job, but he and Kyle shared an instant bond that was undeniable to the other soldiers. When the pair finished up their tour of duty, Kyle knew that this was not the end of their story.

Doing everything in his power to adopt Bodza, the soldier was finally about to bring the dog home. Bodza and Kyle had many great years together, but when Bodza turned 11 Kyle realized that something was seriously wrong. Always in excruciating pain, Kyle was heartbroken to learn that his beloved pup was suffering from an incurable spinal cord condition.

He took the loyal dog to the vet and made the difficult decision to have him put down. Kyle was devastated. He couldn’t stop himself from crying as he cradled the sweet dog in his arms. Surrounded by his Air Force brothers and loved ones, the soldier wept as he said his final goodbyes to the loyal dog. Not wanting his superiors to see him cry, he tried to hide his emotions, but it didn’t take long for his boss to catch word of what was happening. His next request left the room in tears, as cameras captured the emotional moment Bodza is paid his final military respects. See the touching moment in the video below – what a beautiful send-off for one of America’s true heroes.