Dogs are always invited to join guests and families at Mystic Seaport. And while we can’t allow our four-legged friends onto historic vessels like the Charles W. Morgan, canines have a long history aboard boats and ships, and have served a variety of roles on the sea. This is particularly apparent in the history of the U.S. Navy.
In the early days of the American Naval Forces, dogs served in a working capacity. When a ship would land on a new shore, dogs would help alert sailors to possible dangers, using their senses of smell and hearing to detect threats their human counterparts couldn’t see. Dogs were also used to help find food in unexplored areas to help sustain the crew.
In more recent years, dogs were important as morale-boosters. Dogs posed in pictures with crew and participated in recreational activities. On voyages across the ocean, a ship’s dog was an engaging playmate who helped break up the monotony of long weeks on open water.
In many cases, these dogs weren’t just for entertainment; they were the ship’s mascot. These “sea dogs” were a rallying point for sailors to gather around and be proud of, compounded with a sailor’s connection to his or her ship, and the camaraderie among the crew. Many times, mascots even had their own custom uniforms. On a larger scale, the English Bulldog has been the official mascot for the entire United States Marines Corps since 1922.
At Mystic Seaport, we can’t get enough of these loyal, loving and adorable companions, so we encourage you to bring your pet with you on your next visit. Service dogs are always welcome with unrestricted access as well. They’ll all love the sea air, playing on the green and all the attention they’ll be sure to get!