After many years on the job, it was about time for one special member of the St. Ignace U.S. Coast Guard crew to get a promotion.
Onyx has been a Morale Dog on the Michigan-based crew since June 2008. She started the job when she was just a young lady, but now she’s 13 and has the gray muzzle to prove it. She’s been assisting the Guard to educate the public about water safety while providing comfort to her fellow Coasties and her community for over a decade now!
“When the guys come back from a rescue case, she greets them at the door,” said her handler, Chief Petty Officer Tyler Benson. “She’s keen at sensing when people are down or stressed, even during this COVID crisis. She’ll put her head on their lap or watch TV with them.”
In addition to her duties with the U.S. Coast Guard, Onyx has helped teach kids about safety issues as the star of her very own series of children’s books. Tyler writes the “Adventures of Onyx” books, and Onyx often accompanies him on visits to area schools where she’s always a big hit. During the coronavirus pandemic, Tyler has even been reading the books on Facebook Live for kids who are isolating inside their homes.
After all the good she’s done for others, Tyler and the crew decided it was time to give her a promotion to Senior Chief Petty Paw-fficer Officer! “We notified the headquarters in Washington, we went through the chain of command, and they said it’s well-deserved and due,” Tyler said.
During a special ceremony, Onyx received a gold anchor and star pin for her collar and lots of extra treats and belly rubs!
Even with the current pandemic situation, Onyx continues to bring joy to everyone she meets. “It’s neat to see her working through the ranks like the rest of us,” Tyler said. “She’s slowing down now in her older age, but she’s really good at just being there for the crew.”
Congratulations, Onyx! Thank you for always being there when your crew needs you! Watch her promotion ceremony in the video below, and don’t forget to share.
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