Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ali Flockerzi
His brown eyes sparkle with excitement as he surveys the ground. His ears perk up as his shipmate scuffs the sole of his black boot against the pavement, kicking up a cloud of dust. False alert. He watches carefully, ready for action when the time comes. A few seconds later, a stone is kicked past his crouched body and Diesel launches, chasing down his prey.
Success! He has finally captured the elusive beast. He rolls it around in his slobbery mouth and the hard rock cracks and grinds against his tough teeth. His shipmates cringe at each sickening, loud crunch.
“Our station dog, Diesel, loves to chase and chew on rocks,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Creagh, a boatswain’s mate at Coast Guard Station King’s Point. “We try to get him to stop but, if he sees you kick a rock, he’ll chase it down.”
He carries a mouthful of rocks back with him and drops them on top of the growing pile near the station’s door. His one and only collateral duty is being the station’s rock collector.
Diesel politely waits to have his leash removed before trotting through the door being held open for him. He greets his shipmates and a slight limp is visible in his hind leg. In the early winter of 2014, after spending the day roaming the station grounds, Diesel returned, visibly in pain.
“One day he came back to the station limping pretty bad and we noticed it was getting worse,” said Creagh. “We used up morale funds to get him fixed up. The recovery process was slow and painful for him.”
Nobody had witnessed his accident, but Diesel was diagnosed with a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).
On top of normal station duties, the crew began taking extra care of Diesel as he recovered. He needed medication, vet visits, leashed walks outside and supervision so he wouldn’t re-injure himself. The crew even began exercising him with swimming, which seemed to speed up the healing process.
Today, apart from the slight limp, it’s hard to tell Diesel was ever injured. He spends his days at the station playing tug of war with his toys, napping in the sun and begging for food.
Trading tricks for treats is one of his favorite activities and Diesel gets pretty creative about it. His best command is known as “the squirrel,” where he sits up on his hind legs and bends his front paws near his chest, closely resembling the tree-climbing rodent. His positive, goofy attitude keeps the crew happy and it’s obvious he is a very well loved and appreciated pup.
At the end of the day, being a shipmate means looking out and caring for others and being a support network during times of need. Station King’s Point crew members, on two legs and four, are shining examples of the bonds Coast Guard men and women develop throughout their careers. The money and time spent on Diesel’s recovery cannot match the joy he brings to his shipmates every day.