Surveying the week’s Coast Guard news, we were particularly moved by a story from the Northwest Florida Daily News (nwfdailynews.com) regarding “Buoy,” a 15-year-old Labrador retriever who became a part of the team at U.S. Coast Guard Station Destin in 2002.
Former Coast Guard member Jacob Fulbright was his master. The two met when Fulbright reported for duty at the station in 2006. Fulbright recounted how he met Buoy when stepping out of the car that morning:
“I got out the car and Buoy side swiped me and got hair all over by uniform,” he said. “I was mortified. I walked in to meet the executive petty officer and he said, ‘Oh, it looks like you’ve already met Buoy!'”
Fulbright said from that moment on, Buoy would never again leave his side.
“He sat with me while the petty officer laid the ground rules, he sat with me while I unpacked and he slept with me that first night,” Fulbright said. “We were close from the first day I met him.”
After others saw the bond between the seaman and the mascot, Fulbright was charged with being Buoy’s official handler.
In 2010, after spending four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, Fulbright prepared to bid Buoy farewell as he neared retirement. What he didn’t know until later was that the executive petty officer had held a secret meeting to discuss the mascot’s future.
“He told me that they had a unanimous vote and that they wanted me to take Buoy home,” he said. “I tried not to cry as hard as I could. It was the coolest thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.” Via nwfdailynews.com
Sadly, Fulbright recently faced the difficult decision that many pet owners face — the decision to end Buoy’s life and have him put to sleep.
In accordance with a promise he had previously made, Fulbright is handling Buoy’s remains in a manner befitting the dog’s prior service:
“I’m having him cremated and he will be buried under the anchor in the front of the station,” he said. “Taking care of Buoy was the greatest honor and privilege I’ve ever had. I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.” Via nwfdailynews.com
Our thoughts are with Jacob Fulbright at this difficult time, and we hope that Buoy is now being looked after well in that great Coast Guard Station in the sky.
From all of us here at MILFEED… Semper Paratus, Buoy!
Featured image courtesy of nwfdailynews.com