|Photo of unidentified dog and handler from US Coast Guard Historian's Office. I'm still hunting for photos of Bayocean's patrol.|
The dogs were kept in a fenced enclosure south of the ruins of the Bayocean Hotel, right across the street from the houses.
|The first 22 Coast Guard patrolmen |
listed in Bayocean logbooks. If you
recognize any please contact me.
|Edwin (Ed) Russ. Photo courtesy|
of his daughter-in-law Lady Russ
Based on interviews with those who were children at the time, the dogs of Bayocean did their job quite well. Vance Mason said they sometimes got loose and terrorized the neighborhood. To him, they looked like deer loping through the brush. He'd scurry to climb the nearest tree in terror. Joann (Dolan) Steffey, whose father A.T. Dolan bought one of the houses after the war dog patrol left, came very close to being mauled by one of the dogs. Donny Meyers fondly recalls watching movies at the main house (later owned by the Hicks) on Sunday afternoons with his buddies. He was befriended by one of the guardsmen, who would take him along when he fed his dog. It was friendly then, but he knew better than to approach it - or any other dog - at any other time. These dogs had all been someone's pet before the war. They were recruited and trained by Dogs For Defense. Men at the station, who were not their handles, would regularly "agitate" them to make sure they continued being ferocious to anyone who was not their handler.
|Pat Patterson. Photo courtesy of his daughter Dee Cherry|
After D-Day the threat of invasion by Germany and Japan was less of a threat, so beach patrols were fazed out, with the Pacific Coast being last. Some of the men, who had been recruited from farms in mid-America because of their experience with animals, went home. Most of the dogs were retrained for civilian life. But some went on to serve in battles overseas. One group helped train Chinese Nationalists in the use of war dogs and horses (information in this paragraph is from Prints in the Sand). Pat Patterson of the Garibaldi horse patrol stayed to marry a local girl and become a port commissioner. Now in his 90s, he fondly recalls stories from the time he served his country in this special way.