Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) – the official aid society for the United States Coast Guard – has announced a new program to support Coast Guard working dogs in their retirement.
The Retired Working Animal Medical Expenses Grant (WAG) was announced in conjunction with the retirement of Feco, a nine-year old Hungarian Vizsla stationed at Coast Guard Marine Safety and Security Team San Francisco. The WAG will cover veterinary care insurance costs and cremation for retiring Coast Guard working animals.
Coast Guard working dogs are well-trained and mission ready. However when they retire, service canines are not entitled to any further financial support from the Coast Guard. Currently there are 18 working dogs, supporting the mission around the Coast Guard.
Feco’s handler, Coast Guard active duty member Petty Officer First Class Corey Sumner expressed his gratitude for the new program:
“The WAG program is going to help a lot by relieving the financial burden. It means I will have the extra help that could make a life-saving difference for Feco.”
The WAG program was launched through the generous patronage of Ms. Maureen Manning, daughter of Rear Admiral Alfred P. and Claire Manning. Describing her commitment to the mission of the new program, Ms Manning said, “All members for our service deserve to be taken care of and that includes the four-footed ones.” She gave the gift in memory of her parents and her own vizsla Sandy. Ms. Manning wished her father could have seen the modern canine program as he would have been inspired by their amazing work and courage.
“At CGMA, we are happy to show up for our Coast Guard retirees, including our Coast Guard working dogs,” said Rear Admiral (Ret) Cari B. Thomas, CGMA CEO. “The WAG program is just one of the myriad of ways CGMA continues to find to serve the evolving needs of the Coast Guard community.”