It’s a Dog’s Job…

…but someone has to do it! The hard working Coast Guard mascot dogs worked across seaman’s duties during World War II. From assisting in sickbay to providing docking support, these dogs were an essential part of the crew! As the Still Picture Branch prepares the digitized images from the U.S. Coast Guard Series “Activities, Facilities and Personalities” for upload into the catalog, we’ve found several examples of pups going above and beyond their duties.

For example, Pete the Pooch, able seaman, was a crucial part of docking at LeHavre:

Coast Guardsman who have put in at LeHavre are familiar with the singular talents of Pete the Pooch, able seaman. This wire-haired fox terrier has lent a hand to many a line when a vessel comes into dock. Impatience is the name for Pete, who can’t wait for a line to be tossed from the chock but dives into the sea and swims ashore guiding the Coast Guard cutter to its berth. (26-G-4750, box 58)
There’s only one time Pete the Pooch, able Seaman of LeHavre, needs a little help and that’s when he’s guided the vessel into dock and wants to reach dry land himself. Then it is that another must lift Pete and his line out of the sea, as a Coast Guardsman is doing here. Pete is known by all Coast Guardsmen whose ships have put in at LeHavre. This wire-Haired fox terrier knows a line when he sees one. (26-G-4749, box 59)
Pete the Pooch, Able Seaman, isn’t like other dogs. To him a bollard serves one purpose. About it you make a line fast when a ship is being moored. Pete, LeHavre’s mooring expert, knows all about ships and the way to moor them. He’s handled many vessels in his war-time life, such as this Coast Guard 83 foot cutter about to be tied up. Pete goes into the sea after the line, brings it to ashore and then makes the vessel fast. It’s all in the day’s work of a sea-dog. (26-G-4753, box 59)

On shipboard, Doc Sunshine did the rounds in the medbay:

If ever a dog smiled – It is “Doc Sunshine,” self-appointed official cheerer upper below decks on a Coast Guard-manned troop transport ferrying back casualties from Europe. All day long, “Doc Sunshine” makes his rounds from bunk to bunk visiting the boys who are coming home with their arms and legs in casts and their heads in bandages. He makes “em forget the war and break into smiles. Here, the “Doc” drops in on Private First Class Harold L. Keel (left), of Tennessee City, Ten., who has shrapnel wounds, and Tech. Sergt. Harry H. Steffenhagen, of 123 W. 34th Street, Richmond, Va., who got in the way of some German machine-gun fire. (26-G-4071, box 58)
“Every Buddy’s Pal – “Doc Sunshine,” mascot of a Coast Guard-manned troop transport, plays no favorites. He is strong for his seafaring mates and strong for the soldiers heading overseas as reinforcements or coming back as casualties. His bunk is a K-rations box alongside the sack of Coast Guardsman Leonard J. Smith, Seaman First Class, of 815 Central Avenue, Peeskill, N. Y. (26-G-4069, box 58)
His  Best Bedside Manner – His name used to be “Half Hitch” but the wounded boys started calling him “Doc Sunshine” and the name stuck. “Doc” assigned himself to cheer up duty in the morale-upping division aboard a Coast Guard-manned troop transport. His ship brings back casualties from Europe’s battlefields and “Doc” strolls from bunk to bunk, shaking paws and giving all the boys that “things are getting better every day feeling. Here, the “Doc” visits First Lieut. Leroy C. Baker, of Sawyer (near Minot), North Dakota. (26-G-4064, box 59)

And they went on patrol:

Alert like his Coast Guard shipmates, “Sparky,” mascot of a Coast Guard Combat Cutter, snaps up his ears and eyes an approaching vessel with suspicion. “Sparky” is on patrol out in the Atlantic aboard a fighting ship safeguarding the ship lanes against a possible revival of enemy sub action. Standing watch with “Sparky” is Coast Guard Lieut. Commander Ross P. Bullard of 1093 Eldorado Street, Decatur, Ill. (26-G-2792, box 59)

Haven’t you heard that a dog’s work is never done?

“Spar,” a two-year-old Boston Bull pooch, was born for the sea. She shipped out as a wee pup and has served the Coast Guard will as mascot on the Coast Guard Combat Cutter SPENCER at the time is sank a German sub in battle on the North Atlantic. An adventurer who likes action at sea and in waterfront beverage emporiums, “Spar” once bailed out of a crippled airplane over Newfoundland in the arms of her master, Coast Guard Coxswain Harold L. Mottard, of BOSTON, MASS. Here, “Spar” wears her dress blues, complete with first class yeoman rating, campaign ribbons (earned) and wings for the plane jump. She’s going ashore between voyages. (26-G-08-22-44(1), box 59)

For more information regarding these photographs, email, or visit our research room in College Park, MD.

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