MATTHEWS – Danielle Coe describes her dog, Charone, as protective, happy and lovable, but what makes the German Shepherd different from other dogs is his military service.
Charone spent nine years as a military working dog for the U.S. Air Force, serving on the Ramstein Air Base in Germany and the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait. His work consisted of safeguarding personnel and their families on base.
Danielle’s husband, Chad Coe, served as Charone’s handler. Danielle and Chad were able to adopt Charone after the dog retired from the Air Force last year due to his aging hips.
“As a pet, he was just happy to be in retirement,” Danielle said. “He just fell right into being a stay-at-home pet.”
Not long after retiring, however, they found a lump on Charone. The vet confirmed he had cancer.
“This happened very suddenly,” Danielle said. “Nobody was expecting it for him just out of retirement.”
Charone has been struggling so much that Danielle had to make an appointment to put him to sleep April 22 at Sun Valley Hospital. Chad can not make the appointment because he is serving on the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. Danielle plans to connect with Chad via FaceTime during the procedure so they can say their final goodbyes.
Danielle said she went to McDonald’s to get Charone two bags filled with hamburgers so he can enjoy himself as much as possible in his final days. But Charone hardly has any appetite, his breathing is getting heavy and he is losing mobility.
“He’s just not himself,” Danielle said. “It’s just very hard to watch. We just don’t want him to suffer any more.”