|News NetworkLoyal Dog Remains at Soldier's Casket|
|By Mace Felsch (27/08/2011)||315 words|
They say a dog is a man's best friend. This was completely apparent at the funeral of Petty Officer Jon Tumilson of the US Navy SEALs. Tumilson was killed last week after the Chinook in which he was being transported in was shot down by insurgents in Afghanistan. Around 1500 mourners attended Tumilson's funeral, including over 50 of his fellow SEALs, however the occassion captured the emotions of public when images of the funeral emerged, showing Timulson's beloved labrador retriever, Hawkeye, lying at the base of his casket.
Cousin of the deceased, Lisa Pimbleton captured images and video of the heart-wrenching presence of Hawkeye, refusing to leave his master's side, even in death. "I felt compelled to take one photo to share with family members that couldn't make it or couldn't see what I could from the aisle," said Pimbleton, "To say that he was an amazing man doesn't do him justice. The loss of Jon to his family, military family and friends is immeasurable."
Hawkeye was described by as 'like a son' to Tumilson by members of his family. Hawkeye was such an important part of Tumilson's life that family members followed the dog down the aisle as they entered the funeral service. Hawkeye then sat at the base of his master's casket and remained there for the entire funeral service. Hawkeye was reported to have whined upon reaching the casket and 'cried' aloud whenever no-one was speaking.
Despite Hawkeye's emotional dedication to Tumilson and the clear bond between the two, he is to be adopted by Tumilson's long-time friend, Scott Nichols. Nichols had already cared for Hawkeye whilst Tumilson was serving in Afghanistan and was opted as the best option to care for the bereaved canine. Tumilson was post-humously awarded a Purple Heart and a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, in addition to numerous medals he won throughout his service.
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