Rosie the English lab loved swimming and was good with kids.
Two things that were probably necessary as the mascot of Coast Guard Station Annapolis.
Rosie spent around 12 years at the station, serving as its mascot, before retiring to Pennsylvania. She passed away May 3 at age 15, just missing her 16th birthday.
Rosie lived a long life, by dog standards, said retired Petty Officer Jim Abels. Abels cared for Rosie during his time at the station and took her in when she retired. As far as he knows, most of the puppies in her litter lived long lives.
“She was a really great dog,” Abels said. “Typical lab.”
Rosie came to Annapolis as a 10-week-old puppy in 2005, a gift from Adm. Robert E. Kramek, who served as the Coast Guard’s 20th commandant.
Kramek offered Rosie to the station near Thomas Point after the passing of Bear, a chocolate lab, who had served as the previous mascot.
Rosie’s name came from the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” because her first collar included a yellow ribbon, Abels said.
Kramek’s wife, Pat, removed that ribbon once the dog got to her new home, and told the puppy that she no longer needed it. She was on duty.
Pat Kramek warned the station that the puppy was not housebroken, but she could swim.
And she really liked to swim, Abels said.
As the mascot, Rosie attended many public affairs events, including library programs. She loved receiving attention, and even though Abels would bring items he thought people would find interesting, “the dog stole the show every time,” he said.
She hung out with the Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers during their shifts at the communications center. She loved exploring the station grounds. She was the greeting committee. Whenever there was a cookout, Rosie was usually by the kids or the food.
“Whatever she did, she had a good time with it,” Abels said.
Abels lived in Annapolis and had worked at the station during Bear’s tenure. He had thought about taking in Bear when the dog retired, but a transfer prevented it. So when the opportunity came to take Rosie, he did.
Abels had been caring for Rosie when he came back to the station as an operations manager in 2012, he said. When it came for her to retire, on May 8, 2017, he wanted her to have a place for her to live out her life.
She was the station’s third and final mascot. Bear and Admiral Boomer are buried at the station, according to a 2015 Coast Guard feature on Rosie.
On her way to her new home, Abels stopped at Mission BBQ with Rosie. After hearing that she retired, the staff gave her a smoked brisket lunch, Abels said.
As a retiree, Rosie bonded with Abels’ cat Kali, although it took a bit for Kali to adjust to her new housemate.
Rosie also took up gardening. Each day, she would stick her nose in the planters and plant bed to check on each plant. She also had to supervise watering, Abels said.
“It’s weird to say a dog had a hobby, but she had a hobby,” he said.
Abels started an antique shop, called Black Dog Military Antiques, with Rosie’s image as its logo. She became a mascot again and would accompany him while he worked.
“It was good to give her a job again,” Abels said.
Rosie died from cancer, Abels wrote in an email. He wanted to acknowledge the care she received from Dr. Amy Werely of the Dover Area Animal Hospital and Army Maj. Matthew Decker, who were Rosie’s veterinarians over her life.
“During her nearly 16 years on this earth, she made an impact on many lives in the U.S. Coast Guard, the Annapolis area, and her new home of Pennsylvania,” Abels wrote.
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