Veterans wanted to appropriately honor and say goodbye to a four-legged Marine veteran that died.
There is no script or playbook to follow to honor dogs which served our country, so, sometimes, it's best to just follow your heart.
Mark American Horse carried his dog Adja, a retired marine working dog, to her final assignment.
Adja was trained as a bomb dog, helping find IEDs and other weapons on four overseas deployments.
She served the Marines for almost 10 years and at the end of her active service Mark, a Marine himself, adopted her.
"That was in Hawaii, so we got to spend some time. I took her to the beaches and stuff like that, so we got to spend some good, quality time there” he said.
The Marines have a program that allows retired service dogs to be adopted. Her handler couldn't, so Mark stepped up.
"I thought it was a good idea to adopt her,” he said. “She's been a great dog."
She's over 13 now and years of active service have taken their toll. She's developed severe arthritis in her hind legs and hips. She's basically immobile and in severe pain, and Mark decided it was time to give her some peace.
So he took her to the veterinarian and arranged for an honor guard from the United Keetoowah Band and VFW post 7977 to provide ceremonial honors.
The final plan calls for Adja to be cremated, but Mark built a casket for her out of her dog house so she could be carried with all the dignity and honor she has earned.
The Honor Guard from the VFW Post 7977 performs about 260 veteran funerals each year. This was their first for a four legged veteran.