Featured Station Mascot: Rosie, a Commandant’s gift

Rosie stands watch with one of her Christmas presents from the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Rosie stands watch with one of her Christmas presents from the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Less than 10 years ago, damage control Petty Officer 1st Class Bear proudly stood the watch at Coast Guard Station Annapolis. The crew was fond of their mascot, a chocolate lab, who had become their loyal companion for more than 12 years. Unfortunately, Bear had developed a disease that left him crippled. Medication no longer eased Bear’s pain and the crew at Station Annapolis prepared for the June day when their beloved friend was put to rest.

The crew of Station Annapolis ensured Bear received the proper ceremonial honors for his lengthy military career. The local newspaper wrote a touching tribute to the station’s companion and the chaplain presided over his burial. Bear was dressed in his Coast Guard uniform and placed in a handcrafted pine coffin made by the station’s engineers. He was buried under a large oak tree on the station’s grounds next to his predecessor Admiral Boomer.

Memorial article about Bear in the local paper.

Memorial article about Bear in the local paper.

Retired Adm. Robert Kramek, former commandant of the Coast Guard, heard of Bear’s passing and the crew’s sadness due to their loss. Two years prior, Kramek personally signed Bear’s advancement to first class. Fortunately, his own dogs just gave birth to a litter of seven puppies, and he reached out to the station to offer the crew a new mascot to fill Bear’s role. The crew quickly accepted the offer, and on July 20, 2005, Kramek and his wife Pat personally delivered 10-week-old Rosie to Station Annapolis to begin the puppy’s new life as a Coast Guard mascot.

Rosie and her littermates (third from the right).

Rosie and her littermates (third from the right).

Given Rosie’s illustrious pedigree one might expect she would steadily promote through the ranks; however, after nine years, she has yet to advance beyond seaman. It wasn’t long after her arrival to the station Rosie was found asleep on watch in the communications center. With photographic evidence provided, she was quickly found guilty of the offense, and her advancement was put on hold.

Rosie caught sleeping on watch!

Rosie caught sleeping on watch!

Rosie moved on from the incident, although she still loves a good nap, and she found her calling as the official greeter at Station Annapolis. She takes her job seriously, recognizing the sounds created by various cars of crew members as well as the local delivery truck, and will run to greet them at the door of their vehicle. She especially loves Coast Guard Auxiliary members who bring her treats and presents when they visit. She’s had to cut back on treats lately as she was well outside official weight standards, and has learned to love vegetables including her new favorite treat, carrots.

As the official station greeter, Rosie loves visiting with children during station open houses and at programs at the local library. She’s become a bit of a celebrity at the groomer, Bark ‘N’ Bean, who proudly posts photos of her on their Facebook page every time she comes in for a visit. Even the veterinary staff at Fort George G. Meade is excited to see Rosie and often tell the station personnel she’s better trained than the military working dogs they care for.

One of Rosie's many trips to Bark 'N' Bean.

One of Rosie’s many trips to Bark ‘N’ Bean.

While Rosie may be a nine-year non-rate, she’s definitely a valued member of the crew at Station Annapolis. The crew lavishes attention on her, ensuring she has ample opportunities to go for a swim off the dock and never is without a toy to play with. In turn, Rosie is always there to provide comfort for crew members who are feeling down and works hard to boost the morale of watchstanders at the station. To reward Rosie’s loyalty throughout the years, station personnel made a resolution for 2015 to help Rosie with her qualification process to help her finally earn the rank of third class petty officer.

Rosie's trademark shy pose for the camera.

Rosie’s trademark shy pose for the camera.

Tags: , , , , , ,