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Lieutenant Commander Abigail | Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service Skip to main content

Lieutenant Commander Abigail

U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Mascot

Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Abigail serves as the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps’ first official mascot. She is a trained facility dog whose mission is to protect, promote, and advance the health of the nation through the human-animal bond.

LCDR Abigail was named after the former First Lady of the United States, Abigail Adams, who has a historical connection to the service. The origin and history of the USPHS Commissioned Corps trace back to July 16, 1798, when Congress passed an Act, signed by President John Adams, creating the US Marine Hospital Service to protect against the spread of disease from sailors returning from overseas ports and thus began the story of the Public Health Service.

The concept of the service mascot originated in early 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Public Health Service officers deployed to respond to the largest public health emergency in modern times. The mascot is intended to improve mental well-being, enhance camaraderie, and expand recruitment efforts. When first appointed, the mascot is commissioned with an honorary rank in the USPHS Commissioned Corps. This honorary rank will not include any salary or retirement benefits.

LCDR Abigail, a Labrador Retriever, is a Warrior Canine Connection dog, who received special training to serve as a facility dog. LCDR Abigail will serve as a symbol of the USPHS Commissioned Corps’ commitment to the greater public in protecting and advancing the nation’s health.

The USPHS Commissioned Corps mascot program is made possible by a memorandum of understanding between the USPHS Commissioned Corps and the PHS Commissioned Officers Foundation. The mascot will additionally be used for ceremonial purposes and stand ready to deploy with our officers as they respond to public health emergencies.

LCDR Abigail resides in Bethesda, Maryland with her mascot handler, LCDR Dan Johnson, a dietitian officer within the USPHS Commissioned Corps and his family.

For event invitations and inquiries, please contact CorpsComms@hhs.gov.

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