Since mankind first took to the seas thousands of years ago, they always brought along members of the animal kingdom with them on board their ships. The animals were brought along for many reasons, such as a source of food, to fight rodent infestations, or for companionship. Coast Guard crews followed this ancient custom and adopted numerous varieties of mammals and birds, among others, as mascots and brought them along on their voyages. Many times these animals were actually enlisted in the service, complete with service and medical records, uniforms, and their own bunks. Here they were promoted for exemplary performance or were sent before a captain's mast to receive punishment from the skipper for some transgression or another and were "busted" back down to seaman. Many actually saw combat against the enemy, some were wounded, some died, and many were decorated. Quite a few even lived to a ripe old age and enjoyed a well-earned retirement ashore. Many of the shore units too have adopted a mascot to help them around the station and when they venture out on a patrol or a rescue. All Coast Guard mascots have served just as their human counterparts have, with courage, honor, and are "Always Ready" to go to those in need of assistance.
Here then is a sampling with photographs of some of those members of the animal kingdom who kept the crews of cutters and shore stations company, sharing in their hardships and dangers, and making life a little more tolerable just by being aboard.www.uscg.mil/History/Mascots.html