A hero’s farewell: Retired U.S. Navy Seals K-9 Kyo cremated in Marion

A Virginia man and his retired U.S. Navy Seals K-9 traveled to Marion recently to give the canine soldier a proper send off into the afterlife.

Chris Franklin has an acquaintance in Marion who invited him down for emotional support and told him about the Companion Petuary at Beam Funeral Service.

Kyo, a 13-year-old German shepherd and Belgian malinois mix, died on Friday, May 5 at Beacon Veterinary Hospital in Swannanoa. He was cremated at the Companion Petuary at Beam Funeral Service in Marion.

Kyo was born in Maui, Hawaii on Feb. 14, 2005. He arrived at Amph Expeditionary Navy Special Warefare Base in Coronado, Calif. at just 12 weeks old. His owner, Franklin, was there the day Kyo arrived as a pup.

Kyo went through initial canine bomb training, proving himself to be a fast learner and highly intelligent. He became one of the first ever multitasking dogs specializing in bombs, firearms and biochemicals. He had a natural and calming demeanor making him an excellent candidate for general protection detail, his obituary said.

Kyo served with the U.S. Navy Seals in Afghanistan and Iraq for a total of six tours between 2006 and 2010. Franklin said he would visit him during training, serve side by side with him on overseas operations, even breaking him out at night at the base to go swimming at the beach. Franklin was in the Navy for 18 years serving as an AT and NSW/SW/CC. He was medically discharged in 2016 after deploying on 17 tours during his career. He was stationed in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Southeast Asia and Central America.

Sadly, Kyo had to retire from the military in 2010 after being diagnosed with parasitic lung disease that he contracted in the desert.

During his service, Kyo earned two accommodations of valor and six Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, to name a few.

“Having been a total ladies’ man, and stealing the hearts of women everywhere and anyone he came in contact with, even with his declining health, Kyo had a lion’s heart and was loving, playful and a loyal companion,” his obituary said. “Kyo will be greatly missed by all of those who knew and loved him.”

Franklin said he received a beautiful wooden box from Beam Funeral Service with Kyo’s ashes and a flag. Franklin said he is thankful for Beacon Veterinary Hospital for handling Kyo’s departure.

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