PHOTO: Airman mourns beloved German shepherd

PHOTO: Airman mourns beloved German shepherd

(WWBT) - A photo of a US Air Force airman mourning his beloved German shepherd is tugging at the heartstrings of Facebook users around the world.

Staff Sgt. Kyle Smith was Bodza's handler during the dog's military career, reports They served four tours of duty together, so when the dog was put down last week it was a moment Smith struggled with greatly.

"I held him in my arms the entire time," Smith told Inside Edition. Smith adopted Bodza after the canine's retirement. "I've never cried that much my entire life."

After the dog was euthanized, Smith told Inside Edition his boss asked him to find an American flag, which they draped over Bodza's body.

Bodza was suffering from degenerative myelopathy, an incurable disease that affected his spinal cord, which led Smith to make the decision to have him put down.

"All of us have that dog that is so special to us," Smith told "I got married with this dog, I got divorced with this dog. I have a son on the way, and the most heartbreaking part is I really wish he was younger, so my son would be able to play with him. He was the nicest dog in the world."

Copyright 2017 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.