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FACE OF DEFENSE: Meet Sage the Navy's Facility Dog

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When the Navy's newest and most advanced aircraft carrier set off last month on its second deployment, it brought along something both familiar and entirely novel:


Meet Sage, the USS Gerald R. Ford's facility dog. As part of a pilot program, she is the first "expanded operational stress control canine" to serve on the crew aboard a Navy ship throughout a deployment.

The 3-year-old Labrador retriever has been specially trained to help sailors cope with stress associated with deployment, providing comfort and morale boosts as part of the ship's warfighter toughness mental health and resiliency team. 

A seated dog stares up at a person holding her leash.
A dog sits in front of four smiling, standing sailors in a room.

Recently, Sage and her handlers visited sailors aboard the USS Normandy, another ship in the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, in the Mediterranean Sea. From the looks of it, things went swimmingly. 

A dog lying on a blanket on a ship's deck gazes up a person petting her.
A sailor scratches a dog's ear while the pup sits on a ship's deck.
A dog with an open, relaxed mouth gazes up a sailor looking at her.




A dog lies on a quilt on a ship's deck while a kneeling sailor pets her.
A dog lies on a ship's deck while sailors pet her.
A dog wearing a vest lies on a quilt on a ship's deck with a toy by its front paws.


A dog wearing goggles and a vest sleeps with her head on a sailor's shoe.