ROMULUS, Mich. - Marine Lance Corporal Jeff DeYoung was reunited today with his closest battlefield friend. Cena, a black Labrador, was deployed in Afghanistan with the veteran from Muskegon.
The dog served with DeYoung in 2009 and 2010 and it had been four years since the pair last saw each other.
PHOTO GALLERY: Marine and dog reunited at Metro Airport
DeYoung and Cena were separated when he returned from war. She was reunited with her wartime handler today at Detroit Metro Airport.
In their years apart, DeYoung got married and now has two children - with another on the way.
His wife, Lindsay, told WCPO news partner WXYZ in Detroit that it's been clear just how much her husband had missed Cena who is now seven years old.
They learned that Cena had developed a hip injury and was to be retired from the Marine Corps. It was the chance to bring her home to Michigan and adopt her!
When they were in Afghanistan together, Lance Cpl. DeYoung and Cena the black Lab worked to protect Marines from the danger of improvised explosive devices - IEDs. Cena would work out in front of the infantry and she would lay down when she smelled an IED.
When they came under fire, DeYoung would lay with Cena to protect her.
DeYoung says Cena saved countless lives -- including his.
Thursday morning's reunion was very emotional. DeYoung says the first thing he plans do with Cena is sit down with his dog and catch her up on the last four years of his life.