DALLAS - After a Dallas woman's Facebook post, strangers rallied to give her dog the final goodbye they feel he deserves.
These days, you’ll often find Ray reclining. At 14, the German Shepherd is enjoying the spoils of his golden years.
And his owner Mandy Meyk will tell you, this patriot really earned them. Ray's full name is Sargent Radek who proudly served as a Navy canine.
"He parachuted, he jumped in, he was a bomb detection dog," she said. "He got sent into combat...I know they were deployed at least three times into really heavy zones."
His time in Afghanistan took a toll, and Meyk says he was discharged at age three and showed signs of PTSD. Meyk brought him home to Dallas, and it seemed to help.
"He and I bonded immediately," she said. "I understood how to talk to him and get him to open up."
For the next decade, Ray helped her through life and motherhood. He’s older than Meyk’s daughter, Maggie. Unfortunately, that’s begun to show in seizures.
"To see him go from being this big strong soldier to having problems just with daily activities, it’s been very hard." she said. "Especially for my daughter."
Knowing Ray’s last days were close, Meyk reached out to her neighborhood on Facebook for ideas on how to meet the end of his life with honor. They did one better. Strangers reached out to help. A woman named Lisa brought a flag that flew in Kuwait, that Meyk proudly hung on their front porch. It will be folded for her at Sgt. Radek's death. Others donated to cover the costs of his cremation and memorial as their way of saying thank you.
"Everyone’s love and generosity has just…it’s made knowing that he won’t be here but people loved him," said Meyk. "It's a lot easier. So much easier."
A fitting ending to a life given in service of man’s best friend.
© 2018 WFAA-TV