Rico was a brave military combat K9 whose strength and resilience saw him through many difficult operations, including two full tours of Afghanistan and over 30 firefights. Through it all, he stayed faithfully by the side of his partner and handler, Marine Staff Sgt. Russ Beckley Jr.
Both were eventually brought home again and, after a year apart, reunited. Old age and a life of action were taking their toll on Rico physically. Though he still had the fighting spirit in him to go out and dodge more bullets, time is the one bullet no one can avoid. As his body increasingly started breaking down, Sgt. Beckley and his family made the difficult decision to put him down in order to ease his suffering.
In a truly amazing service, Sgt. Beckley and his father (also a Marine) both dressed in their formal blues and set out to give Rico the hero's farewell he deserved. What truly surprised and touched them, however, was how many people from the town gathered around them for the funeral procession. Finally, the father-son duo laid Rico to rest in a coffin draped in the American flag, in accordance with military custom.
H/T: WRAL TV