SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – After just one year on the job, Sharon’s 2-year-old K9 officer retires his badge after being diagnosed with a rare, terminal cancer.
The police department retired Chester two weeks ago. In the time he has left, the big guy is living the life of a regular family dog with his handler and owner, Patrolman Steve Winans.
For the past year, Winans and Chester patrolled the City of Sharon together.
“When we started training and then soon after training, you have that bond but when it comes to the job and stuff, we were really just starting to get to know each other,” Winans said.
In February, Winans noticed a lump above Chester’s eye. After testing, veterinarians determined it was cancer.
Radiation treatment would only have elongated his life for a short time, so Winans opted not to do it.
“The vet said the average dog lives about 60 days when he goes untreated. He’s doing extremely well since we found out health-wise and handling it,” he said.
Losing Chester won’t just be the loss of a work buddy. Winans said he’s become part of the family.
“He tones it down around [my wife] and then I have a 5-month-old son, and he tones it down even more around him. So just the way he realizes to adjust like that when he’s at home. And then ever since I took him off the road, he’s been at home all the time. He’s been good just hanging out and being a dog.”
The Sharon Police Department is throwing Chester a retirement party that will be open to the community on Saturday afternoon. Winans said people in the city love to meet him while they’re out on patrol.
“He’s had a big effect on the community, just being Chester.”
As for the remainder of Chester’s life, Winans said it will be full of love and fun.
“I want to make sure, even though we’re not treating him, I just want to make sure he’s as happy and comfortable as he can be. I’m just worried about him right now, I’m not worried about anything else.”
Chester’s retirement party will also be a fundraiser for the department to get another K9 dog. It will be at the United Methodist Church in Sharon from 1 to 3 p.m.