Marquette’s Coast Guard dogs Thor, Loki advance ranks, honored in sweet ceremony
By EMILY BINGHAM | MLive.com | Published: February 25, 2020
MARQUETTE, MICH. (Tribune News Service) — Much of the event was typical of a U.S. Coast Guard advancement ceremony, with everyone standing at attention as the honorees received their pins. But the brand-new petty officers third class at Station Marquette also got a special bonus: Plenty of dog treats.
Thor and Loki, a pair of two-year-old Vizsla-Lab pups adopted this past summer by the Marquette Coast Guard crew, were honored Monday in a special ceremony that “advanced” the dogs to a higher rank as a way of recognizing their contributions to the station as well as the community.
“It was a fun little morale booster for the station, but at the same time it gave the dogs some kudos for all the public outreach that they’ve done,” said Petty Officer Terry Bailey, who helped orchestrate the ceremony.
The dogs were each given an advancement certificate as well as official Coast Guard pins to wear on their collars, denoting their new rank.
Thor and Loki came to Marquette by way of a shelter in Missouri, where the U.P.-based pet rescue agency UPAWS had rescued them just a day before they were scheduled to be euthanized. Now, the two pooches live full-time at the Coast Guard station, where the crew members pool their own money to pay for the dogs’ care.
The dogs are not trained in search and rescue, but they serve the community in other ways: As welcoming faces at station events, for example, and as the stars of a weekly feature called “Safety Tip Tuesday” on the station’s Facebook page, for which they pose in costumes to help share seasonal safety lessons.
Bailey said it’s not uncommon for Coast Guard “station dogs” to rise through the ranks — and that given what great dogs they’ve been, Thor and Loki will certainly keep advancing.
“They get to earn it and they’re definitely on track to earn it," Bailey said. "They’ve been really good.”