Published January 24, 2013
One Detroit mother is fighting to ensure that the dutiful dog who served alongside her son is buried in a national cemetery.
Mina is a male black lab who served nine tours of duty in Afghanistan and was promoted to sergeant before retiring from the Army, Fox 2 News reported. The dog served three tours with Michigan native Army Sgt. Corey McCourt.
"The dog sits in front of the bomb and my son, who does this, goes in and he disarms the bomb after the dog finds it," McCourt's mother, June Etlinger, told Fox 2 News.
But after developing a serious lung ailment at age 13, Mina was euthanized. And with her son still serving in the Army, Etlinger was tasked with finding a suitable final resting place for the canine hero. She'd like it to be Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich.
"My father is buried there and my grandmother and grandfather are buried there. It's a beautiful cemetery and it's an honorable cemetery, and I just feel that Mina deserves that as well," Etlinger said.
But the cemetery official denied Etlinger's request. She said an official told her a canine burial is not allowed.
"I don't think he's ever been asked that question before, so he was kind of like no, we don't do that here," Etlinger said told the TV station.
For now, Mina's remains are secured at an animal hospital in Michigan, but Etlinger vows to continue to fight for a proper military burial for Mina.
"He may be a dog, but he's a soldier and he deserves it," she said.