BRISTOL, R.I. - The crew at the Aids to Navigation Team, Bristol, R.I., had become lonely since the previous mascot left alongside their retired chief. A group of crew members searched the website of the Potter League for Animals, a Middletown, R.I. animal shelter, and as soon as the two-year-old, rust-colored dog filled the screen, they knew he was the one.
“We took a collection and rescued [him] as soon as we were able,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Wood, a boatswain’s mate on the team. On August 21, 2013 Wrangel arrived. However, this was not the first time Wrangel had been rescued.
Earlier in 2013, Wrangel was transported from an overrun shelter in South Carolina. “A lot of southern shelters are flooded with animals needing a home, and they have no other choice but to put some of them down,” said Kerry McKinnon, the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Potter League for Animals. According to the Humane Society, about 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are put down every year in the United States. “There just aren’t enough resources to house and feed these animals. They can’t get adopted soon enough, and Wrangel could have been one of those dogs.”
Transporting Wrangell up north was a big step in securing his survival. “Part of our mission is to assist and save lives; while enriching the lives of the animals here at our shelter,” said McKinnon. “The fact that the Coast Guard is taking care of one of our pets couldn’t make us happier.”
The ANT welcomed Wrangel with open arms. “When Wrangel was first brought home, everyone was very excited to see him,” said Wood. “A mascot boosts morale and really brings everyone together.
Wrangel loves chasing birds and seagulls. He is getting more confortable with getting on the boat and embracing his new life at the unit He already had a little bit of Coast Guard history about him, said Wood. His name, Wrangel, is actually the name of the Coast Guard Cutter Wrangell based in South Portland, Maine.
“He’s becoming more of a Coast Guard team member every day,” said Wood.
“We are one of the only aids to navigation teams that have a 24-hour watchstander,” said Wood. Night after night Wrangel sits with the watchstander on duty, and keeps guard over the unit.
“Wrangel always has someone by his side, and so does our crewmember on duty. Wrangel even sleeps on his own cot in the watchstander’s berthing,” said Wood. “He really is a part of the team.”
A loyal friend and valued team member, the crew at ANT Bristol made a unique rescue that sunny, August day. Wrangel continues to live out his life standing duty with his new family.