Sergeant Kyle Smith and his partner, a German Shepherd named Bodza, formed a deep bond while serving together in the US Air Force. Bodza, a bomb detection dog since 2006, played a vital role in saving lives by sniffing out bombs. In 2012, Smith began working with Bodza and their friendship quickly grew.
“I loved working with him because he taught me a lot – patience as a young handler, and how to understand that this job isn’t just about you,” Smith shared.
Throughout their years together, the duo embarked on numerous missions. When the time came for Bodza to retire, Sergeant Smith decided to adopt him. They became inseparable at home, with Bodza displaying even more loyalty in their daily life.
However, the happiness of Bodza’s retirement was overshadowed by his diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy in the summer of 2016. This incurable disease affected his spinal cord, causing the loss of function in his hind limbs and making basic tasks difficult for him.
Smith faced the heartbreaking decision to euthanize Bodza. Together with nine of his co-workers, they brought Bodza to the Fort Bliss Vet Clinic. Smith cradled him in his arms as Bodza peacefully passed away.
“It was a rush of so many things. It was just overwhelming,” Smith recalled. He was grateful for the support of his co-workers who comforted him during this difficult moment. They draped a flag over Bodza, providing a final tribute.
Though Bodza crossed the rainbow bridge, his last moments seemed content. “He had a smile on his face when he was getting put to sleep,” Smith shared.
Smith will forever cherish Bodza’s loyalty and selflessness. He recognizes the immense impact Bodza had, going above and beyond without expecting anything in return. Each day, Smith misses his beloved partner and friend.
Bodza’s memory will be honored, and his legacy of dedication and service will always be remembered. Rest in peace, Bodza.