Hunting Dogs photo

If, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, then this heartbreaking photograph of Petty Officer 1st Class Jon Tumilson’s black lab, “Hawkeye” refusing to leave his master’s side during Tumilson’s funeral earlier this week speaks volumes…

From this story on

Navy SEAL, Jon Tumilson, lay in a coffin draped in an American flag, in front of a tearful audience mourning his death in Afghanistan. Soon an old friend appeared, and like a fellow soldier on a battlefield, his loyal dog refused to leave him behind. Tumilson’s Labrador retriever, Hawkeye, was photographed lying by Tumilson’s casket in a heart-wrenching image taken at the funeral service in Tumilson’s hometown of Rockford, Iowa, earlier this week. Hawkeye walked up to the casket at the beginning of the service and then dropped down with a heaving sigh as about 1,500 mourners witnessed a dog accompanying his master until the end, reported CBS.

The photo was snapped by Tumilson’s cousin, Lisa Pembleton, and posted on her Facebook page in memory of the San Diego resident. Tumilson, 35, was one of 30 American troops, including 22 Navy SEALs, who were killed when a Taliban insurgent shot down a Chinook helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade on Aug. 6.

According to the story, Hawkeye was such a huge part of Tumilson’s life that his family actually followed the dog down the aisle as they entered the church, and then, as one of Tumilson’s friends approached the stage to give a speech Hawkeye followed him and then laid down if front of the casket, where he remained for the entire service.

Man’s best friend, indeed.