When Onyx the black Labrador was just a puppy, she was homeless. She sought shelter when the weather was bad, and she ended up on the U.S. Coast Guard’s boat. The members on board received a mayday call, so they jumped into action with Onyx still on board.
As it turned out, Onyx was the perfect companion for their missions. She ended up joining the team and serving 12 years as their comfort dog. She became such an important part of the team, so everyone was heartbroken when it was time to say goodbye.
Onyx’s Important Job
Onyx worked hard up until her final days. She was adopted by Senior Chief Paul Decker when she first joined the team. Ever since then, she has consistently worked as the Coast Guard’s morale dog. She served 4,356 days on duty, and she was always happy to be there.
The sweet dog had plenty of other roles beyond just comforting the team. She also assisted with search and rescue, aid to navigation, coastal security, ice rescue, and recreational boating safety patrols. However, she was the best at teaching children. She would often attend safety demonstrations at schools to educate others on the importance of lifejackets. Of course, kids were always more eager to listen to a dog than a person.
U.S. Coast Guard Chief Tyler Benson saw how much of an impact Onyx made, especially with children. So, he came up with an idea to write a children’s book about Onyx. He realized that there were lots of materials for adults to learn about the U.S. Coast Guard, but not enough for kids.
Benson initially planned for the material to be a single book, but it ended up becoming a 20-book series titled The Adventures of Onyx. He wrote each book about search and rescue missions he attended, but from Onyx’s point of view. Thousands of kids quickly fell in love with the heroic pup. There is currently only one book left in the series. However, after Onyx’s death, Benson realized that the ending of the series might be different than what he anticipated.
Rest in Peace, Onyx
Onyx passed away at 13 1/2 years old, which is fairly old for a Labrador. She lived a long, fulfilled life, and she had made a positive difference for every person she worked with. The U.S. Coast Guard shared a tribute to Onyx on their Facebook. They discussed what Onyx’s roles were during her time with the U.S. Coast Guard and they shared many adorable photos of her.
“As the sun sets on Onyx and her many adventures, her legacy will continue to inspire all because she was a Hero, a Watchful Protector, a Guardian of the Straits of Mackinac. Onyx was a Coast Guard Morale Dog and the Lord of the Lakes,” a Coast Guard statement read.
Onyx is being cremated and she will receive a proper sendoff soon. The U.S. Coast Guard plans to have her buried at sea under the Mackinac bridge. Even though Onyx will no longer be working with the team, she will be in their hearts forever. Her books and her story will remain an inspiration to many, so she will continue to change the world.
Rest in peace, Onyx. Thank you for your service.
Please SHARE to pass on this story to a friend or family member.
Featured Image: @adventuresofonyx/Facebook and @SectorSaultSaintMarie/Facebook
Share if you enjoyed this post!