KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – As an animal care specialist at Veterinary Medical Center Europe, Spc. Christl Despois, showed that her passion for military working dogs goes far beyond duty hours. Despois recently adopted twelve-year-old military working dog, Charly, and welcomed him into her family.Despois and the rest of the staff at VMCE provide veterinary medical care to the regionally aligned military working dogs that secure the installation, eligible pets in the Kaiserslautern Military Community on a space-available basis, as well as referral cases from across Europe and deployed locations.Despois grew up in Fort Bragg, North Carolina and joined the Army a little after high school.“I come from an “Army Strong” family, in my family it’s almost like a rite of passage” Despois said.Animals have always been a big part of Despois’ life, so choosing a career as an animal care specialist was an easy choice.“Growing up with pets, I knew I wanted to work with animals. The best part about being an animal care specialist is to working to provide care to these insanely cool military working dogs.” explained Despois. “By joining the Army, I’ve been able to find pride and love with what I do for privately owned animals, as well as government owned animals.”Like their human counterparts, when an MWD is injured while deployed, they are often medically evacuated to Germany. Service members are transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for care, and MWDs are transported to VMCE for comprehensive veterinary care.Charly, a German shepherd, was a patrol and explosives detection MWD and due to medically retire due to vision impairment.Charly was assigned to VMCE’s kennels, and Despois was immediately smitten the first time she met him, when he came in for evaluation for not being able to fully perform his duties.“I wasn’t looking to adopt a dog but I always told my husband if there were ever an opportunity to adopt a working dog, I’d take it in a heartbeat.” said Despois.She was happy to give him a couch, endless treats (within reason), and a Kong toy of his own.“Military working dogs, really all working dogs, are incredibly hard workers. Even if they become injured they still have a high work drive,” said Despois. “In retirement, they deserve treats, a comfy bed, and the chance to be lazy.”As with any process, there was extensive paperwork and evaluation involved with veterinary professionals and with the kennels to ensure that Charly was suited for a family life.Being an animal care specialist, Despois’ previous training prepared her to meet his medical needs, easing the adoption process.“Working with MWDs and seeing how they put their life on the line for your safety, made me realize that I want to give back to them, not only at work, but I want to give Charly the lazy family life he hasn’t been able to experience yet.” Despois said.Charly has been in the Despois family for a few weeks now and quickly adapted to the easygoing lifestyle.