Minden said goodbye to Retired U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Canvas Friday.
She was given a hometown procession just like any fallen member of the military with honor, dignity and the support of the Minden community.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. James Russell Moseley says he will miss his companion who came to live with him after serving several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Our relationship when we first started out, we had a lot kinks to work out,” he said. “I got her in February 2013, and we were real close. We basically did everything together as long as we were able to.”
He says Canvas was an improvised explosive device, or IED, sniffing dog, and she saved his life.
“They (the Taliban) had planted an IED at the base of the stairs and I stepped on it,” he said. “The last thing I remember seeing before the explosion was Canvas rushing up to me and giving the signal that a bomb was present.”
Canvas was Moseley’s K-9 partner in every way. He was her handler, and she became a member of his family.
That fateful day in 2011, both Moseley and Canvas were injured during that explosion. It eventually cost Moseley a portion of his leg and Canvas suffered injuries no one knew about until about a year later, he says.
Canvas had been taking medication for severe arthritis and the back injuries she suffered from the explosion. Moseley says she could not walk and it was painful to watch her try to move around.
He says Canvas suffered some after effects from combat, adding she was afraid of fireworks and was very nervous and clingy at times.
The Patriot Guard Riders led the procession from Dixie Inn to Buffington Veterinarian Hospital where Canvas was put to sleep. It was an emotional scene outside the hospital as guard riders, community members and active and retired military came to pay their respects to their K-9 comrade.
Sheila Bordelon, a ride captain in charge, says the family called the guard to escort them to the hospital.
“I don’t know if they’ve done this for (service) dogs before, but apparently this is something our state captain thought we should do,” she said.
“I thought it was a great idea. The dog served too, and the guy lost his leg over there with the dog, and it was a hard decision for him to make. I know it’s never easy to have to make that decision.”
The purpose of the guard is to protect and support families of veterans, she says.
“The Patriot Guard was formed to protect and support families of veterans, mainly killed in action from the protestors that were coming around and saying really hurtful things during that time,” she said. “They are there to shield the family from anything like that – also, just to show respect and support for the veteran.”
Bordelon says a burial service will take place at a later date.