Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ali Flockerzi
Nike runs as fast as his legs will carry him, straight into the cool, salty ocean. His furry, black body breaks the water’s surface with a huge splash as he plunges in. He manages to keep his head up and his eyes on the prize. Above the water, his face looks focused and calm. Below, his muscular legs kick and paddle, driving him forward.
His jaws clamp around the stick and he turns around, steering back toward shore. Dropping his prize, Nike walks a few feet and then flops down. He flips and turns, coating his wet fur in the hot, grainy sand. He burrows his muzzle in a hole and flips some sand in the air, snorting with delight.
The first time Seaman Alistair Brockmeyer brought the unit’s dog to the beach almost turned out to be a terrible adventure.
“I took him down to the beach one day while doing a security round,” said Brockmeyer, a Coast Guard member at Station Jones Beach. “He was just running around in the sand and next thing I know he just takes off into the water. I was completely shocked, thinking I would get into trouble or we’d have to perform a Search and Rescue case to go get the station dog.”
Brockmeyer learned that Nike loves going for swims in the afternoon, especially during the hot New York summers. Although the station has had to launch their boats after Nike a couple times, he is usually good about returning to shore when called.Keeping up with his grooming is a must after Nike visits the beach. Towels in hand, Brockmeyer wipes Nike down, drying his wet coat. Nike’s eye squeeze shut and his lips begin to form a sort of smile. He loves this part! Nike groans and grunts with happiness as Brockmeyer moves the towel swiftly up the dog’s back, down his legs, around his neck and over his face.Brockmeyer pats the dog on the rump, signifying the end of the massage. Nike spins around quickly, grabbing an end of the towel hoping to engage Brockmeyer in a game. Chuckling, the Coast Guardsman grabs the other end and begins a game of tug-of-war. Nike repeatedly jerks his body backward, gripping the cloth tightly between his teeth. The constant yanking creates a tear in the already frayed and well-worn fabric. The towel rips in two and Nike trots away, victoriously.
When Nike’s not spending time down at the water, he is dutifully greeting visitors, keeping the watchstanders company or running to pay the UPS man a visit at the gate. Nike even sleeps with the crew, waking up with them to do station checks every few hours.
“He’s got a great home here. He’s got plenty of places to go and people that adore him,” said Brockmeyer. “We try and take the best care of him that we can, showing him the affection that a dog needs. He’s got his own beach. What more could a black Labrador ask for?”