By Petty Officer 2nd Class Cynthia Oldham
The crew at Coast Guard Station Gloucester, in Massachusetts, recently welcomed their newest crewmember, an 8-month-old black lab named Bruin!
The crew adopted Bruin from Cape Ann Animal Aid in Gloucester and all share the responsibility of training him, feeding him, and cleaning up after his many messes.
Choosing his name stirred up a little debate, but after one crewmember suggested naming him after the Boston Bruins, a team the crew watch and cheer for, the fanatics in the room quickly agreed Bruin was the puppy’s perfect name.
One crewmember, Seaman Nicholas Tosh, took a particular liking to Bruin and spends a lot of time at the station bonding with him and showing him what it takes to be a Coast Guard dog.
The puppy is still in training, and the crew is working to make him an official Coast Guard Seaman or Fireman, but even without rank, Bruin already stands an important duty.
“Bruin makes everyone at the station smile, he is our morale booster,” said Tosh.
Having a puppy is a great stress reliever for the crew who train wholeheartedly every day. Day or night, the crew is always ready to respond to a hail for help — a demanding job with increasing risk as the weather and water temperatures continue to drop.
Before reporting to the station, Bruin didn’t have a lot of experiences outside of life in a shelter. In fact, running around in the station’s yard was the first time Bruin felt grass beneath his paws.
The puppy was originally rescued from a shelter in rural Georgia and transported to Cape Ann Animal Aid to help find him a forever home and a happy life.
Before he was adopted, Bruin was diagnosed with Distichia, a condition that caused extra eyelashes to grow through the underside of his eyelids, and required two surgeries to keep him from going blind.
Now, Bruin is healthy and spends most of his day following around station crewmembers, digging in the sand, chewing up shells and crab claws, and tearing up his bed in the communications room. Because the station is manned 24/7, Bruin is never without the company of his shipmates.
The crew is working to get Bruin the perfect Coast Guard approved lifejacket and feel at ease around the water since he is a little skittish walking down the ramp to the rescue boat pier.
In the meantime, the puppy loves car rides and short trips on the boats. Tosh said eventually Bruin will be comfortable getting underway, but for now Bruin is perfectly happy standing his watch from the pier.