Contributed photo
Paisley and Jaeger Sapp met the real Onyx the dog a few years ago. The dog is featured in a series of new books that were purchased and donated to Henning School.

Sapp family purchases a book about Onyx the dog

By Chad Koenen


A one-of-a-kind Christmas present has turned into a new opportunity for students at Henning Elementary School.

Photo by Chad Koenen
Jaeger Sapp displays the book his dad purchased for his classroom at Henning School. The book details the adventures of Onyx the dog.

Just before Christmas, students in Stephanie Jorgenson’s third grade class created a handmade pillow case for Jaeger Sapp’s dad, Chief Warrant Officer Jeremiah Sapp. Jaeger is a student in Jorgenson’s class and his dad is currently stationed at Port Angeles in Washington, while the family currently lives in the Henning area. 

After receiving the kind gesture for Christmas, Chief Warrant Officer Jeremiah decided to return the favor with a book entitled “The Saginaw River Ice Rescuers.”

“In return my husband bought one of those books for his class,” said Hope Sapp.

The book details the adventures of Onyx the dog as he helps with search and rescue missions with the Coast Guard. There are nine books in the series and was written by Tyler Benson, who was also a member of the Coast Guard. The books are illustrated by David Geister. 

What’s unique about the series is that Jaeger and his younger sister Paisley actually met Onyx when their family was stationed in St. Ignace, Mich. a few years ago. Jaeger said he remembers meeting the actual Onyx dog and thought it was pretty special someone turned some of the dog’s adventures into a series of books. 

Hope said the books are based on actual rescue missions the Coast Guard has went on through the years, which also included their trusty companion Onyx. 

“She was kind of the mascot and would go on boats when they had to do search and rescue,” said Hope. “So the stories of these books are the stories of things she has actually done.”

The dog also went on safety speeches and acted as the mascot/spokesman for the Coast Guard in the greater St. Ignace, Mich. area. the dog has since passed away, but his legacy lives on through a series of children’s books that provide a fun and unique look at the rescue efforts made by the Coast Guard.

When Henning School Librarian Pam Wiese found out about the book the Sapps purchased for Jaeger’s class, she purchased all of the books in the Onyx the dog series. The books are now on display outside of the Henning School Library and will be available to check out for children of all ages. 

“She was kind of the mascot and would go on boats when they had to do search and rescue. So the stories of these books are the stories of things she has actually done.”

Hope Sapp

The original book that was purchased by the Sapp family still remains in Jorgenson’s classroom, where the class has been able to hear stories about the real life super dog from the Coast Guard. 

As far as the gift that gave the class a unique experience of learning about the Coast Guard and Onyx the dog, Jaeger said his dad really appreciated the pillowcase and “he said he is going to use it all the time.”