Second Class Petty Officer Rudder of the U.S. Coast Guard Destin station has a wide range of skill set and expertise.
He is a valued officer since he can sit, speak, roll over, balance food on his nose and shake hands.
Rudder also knows port from starboard. He rescues dummies from the water during training.
He has been with the station for a few years by now. He has been a member since June 2010.
Rudder, a 4-year old black Labrador Retriever, seems like an unlikely addition to the team but his job is just as important.
Rudder has many responsibilities.
“Rudder is considered a 2nd Class Petty Officer because he knows so many tricks,” said Seaman Danielle Heckman.
She said he has a list of requirements — tricks he has to learn — in order to advance in rank.
He also has to run out and get the paper every morning.
On doing his biggest job, however, it is a good thing that he’s a natural. He passes with flying colors: boosting the morale of seamen and visitors to the station.
“He loves to be around everybody,” said Seaman Shelby Yerks.
“He’s definitely a little attention hog,” Heckman added.
During school group tours around the station, both agree that Rudder is one of the main attractions.
It’s not all work for Rudder however. During meal times, he sits and waits eagerly and never refuses a sample of the meal.
He also knows how to rest and chill in style. And when it’s time for that, he heads to his room where he has a fluffy dog bed and plenty of toys and treats. His food and water dishes are also there ready for him.
Special and adorable as he is, Rudder is not the first of his kind.
“We’re not the only station that has dogs. It’s pretty popular,” Yerks said.
Also popular is choosing names with a nautical theme.
Just before Rudder, there was another Coast Guard dog named Buoy, a yellow Lab. He retired in April 2010 at the age of 8 and moved to Texas with an outgoing seaman.
Rudder replaced Buoy and found himself a new home, work and family at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Destin Station.
He is a very welcome addition to the team because as Heckman mentioned, Rudder is a “big morale booster” for seamen who are away from their families.
In fact, even on Rudder’s occasional days off, he sometimes gets taken home by the members of a station who wish they had a dog.
Rudder is brave. He goes out on the boat with the crew. They’re trying to get him a life vest to wear on the boat as well.
Rudder is hard working. He runs with the crew and actively participates in training.
The Labrador is vigilant. He stays alert and watches for intruders, be it human or animal, that come inside the gates. He runs with the crew, participates in training
If Rudder was to pursue another profession though, he would probably be a crab fisherman.
“One of his favorite things to do is jump in the water and try to catch the crabs,” Yerks said. “He thinks he’s a crab fisherman.”
Image and article source: News4Jax