Losing a loved one and family member is one of the hardest things we have to go through in our lives. And the sad truth is that it happens to every person on earth. There is not one person alive who has not or will not lose someone they love throughout their lives.
But one Marine family in Michigan had to say goodbye to their beloved K-9 who had served in Afghanistan with them. And they gave the brave dog the most touching tribute imaginable.
The service dog, Rico, dedicated two tours of duty in Afghanistan and was part of over 240 mission and 30 firefights against insurgents and terrorists in the Middle East.
The dog lived a good life and passed when he was 12 years old. And when he moved on, his owner Marine Staff Sgt. Russ Beckley, Jr. was right there by his side.
“There was not a moment when it wasn’t his mission or his goal to be by my side. I was everything to him. And he was everything to me,” Beckley told WOOD.
After being forced apart for more than a year due to military circumstances, Rico was reunited with Beckley this past June at the sergeant’s parents’ home. Since the dog was getting old, his health was starting to deteriorate. Plus, his hundreds of missions in the war-torn battle ground of Afghanistan had taken its toll on his soul.
Because he was in pain, the family was forced to make the tough choice to put Rico down.
“Mainly I was thinking about how loyal he was to our family. To my son. To myself. And to our country,” Russ Beckley, Sr. said of his last moment with the dog. “He just kinda melted into my arms and we had a very nice goodbye.”
Before the procedure ended Rico’s life, Beckley put his hand on his loyal companion and “thanked Rico” for everything he had done and the service he had offered to America.
“And I told him that I loved him,” he added.
The family then gave Rico a proper Marine burial. The Beckley’s lowered their flag to half-staff and welcomed dozens of visitors eager to pay their respects to the heroic war dog at the memorial the family set up for the animal.
Beckley and his father donned their uniforms and carried Rico in a wooden box to his final resting place in front of dozens of mourners and admirers.
Though Beckley was forced to say goodbye to his dog, he knows deep down in his Christian heart that it will not be the last time he sees his brave friend.
“I can just imagine one day, seeing my great grandfather, my grandfather, my father and my mother, standing there with Rico. And we will all be together again,” he said.
Here’s what some readers wrote on Facebook:
- “Sorry for your loss and when it comes your time to cross the rainbow bridge you will all be back together”
- “RIP Rico. You are no longer in pain. More loyal than some humans. You will see your family again someday”
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