Guarding the Great Lakes, tales of Coast Guard Great Lakes dogs, part 4

 

Skiff prepares to go a mission in Lake Erie with members from Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Cole

Skiff prepares to go a mission in Lake Erie with members from Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Cole

The Great Lakes Coast Guard is sharing the stories of several dogs stationed throughout the Great Lakes in our blog series “Guarding the Great Lakes.” We hope you enjoy these stories of dogs who are “Always Ready” to go the distance and assist those in need.

Darwin prepares to go on a mission in Lake Erie with members of Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Cole

Darwin prepares to go on a mission in Lake Erie with members of Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Cole

Darwin and Skiff

Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor

Great Lakes Coast Guard member since May 2013

Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Cole, Station Cleveland Harbor’s executive petty officer, owns Darwin and Skiff. Darwin is an Old English Sheepdog and Skiff is a Miniature Schnauzer. Both dogs love being part of the Coast Guard. It is a treat for them when they get to visit the station. Though they both get underway, Skiff does not like it as much as Darwin does. On days that they visit the station, both dogs spend time wandering the passageways looking to give a helping paw to crew members at the station.

The dogs are also a fan favorite of children visiting the station.

“Skiff and Darwin don’t really do any physical work, but they do provide some stress release,” said Cole.

Onyx

Always looking cool, Onyx prepares to go on a mission in the Straits of Mackinac with members of Coast Guard Station St. Ignance. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Benson

Always looking cool, Onyx prepares to go on a mission in the Straits of Mackinac with members of Coast Guard Station St. Ignance.
U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Benson

Coast Guard Station St. Ignance, Mich.Coast Guard member since August 2008

Onyx is a black Labrador Retriever mixed breed who was adopted by the crew of Coast Guard Station St. Ignance in 2008. She immediately became a big part of station life. Onyx gets underway on the boats, assists with daily station work and stands a stout watch.

In January, Onyx was promoted to petty officer 2nd class during a ceremony held at the station. Though, the promotion did not give her the same pay and benefits as her human counter parts, she did receive a special dog-friendly meal, complete with dessert.

In 2012, Onyx became famous after Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Benson wrote a children’s book about her titled “Adventures of Onyx.”

“I found that by telling the Coast Guard’s story through Onyx’s perspective is the easiest way to connect with children,” said Benson.

“The children are better able to understand the Coast Guards mission through the eyes of a dog than four adults on a boat.”

Today all the dogs will be featured on the Great Lakes Facebook page as part of a contest to see which lucky dog will be the leader of the pack and become the Great Lakes Top Dog.

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