Last known 9/11 Ground Zero search dog still lends a helping paw. #RescueDogs #NeverForget #Honor911
By Laura T. Coffey: TODAY
Some heroes boast muscle and brawn. Others possess steely nerves and impeccable timing. But this hero is a little different.
This one has feathery fur, a sunny smile, a calm nature and — for a dog — an uncanny ability to zero in on the people who need her most. She’s a 15-year-old golden retriever named ‘Bretagne’, and she’s believed to be the last surviving search dog who worked at Ground Zero in New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (One other surviving search dog from 9/11, a 15-year-old English springer spaniel named Morgan, worked at Staten Island.)
For the first time since the recovery efforts after the attack, Bretagne returned this week to the site of the former World Trade Center complex with her longtime handler and owner, Denise Corliss of Cypress, Texas. They were joined by NBC News’ Tom Brokaw, who will tell their story on TODAY on Thursday morning, Sept. 11.
These are some of them, most were golden retrivers and labradors, but also included german shepherds and other breeds. Sadly most are dead now, while many people forget them and don’t spare them a thought.
As people lay dying, trapped and hurt, a team of nearly 100 loyal and courageous search dogs put their lives on the line to help humans. Without them, many more would not have survived, yet few people consider them.
In such a chaotic, terrifying, hot, acrid-smelling, smokey and loud environment, countless human lives depended on their ability to focus, listen, respond to their handlers, and work tirelessly. Stepping over cracked glass, hot tarmac, through flames and thick smoke, being winched over deep ravines, they battled on to seek out survivors and bring them aid.
They worked around the clock, day and night, searching, sniffing, over and over. Not only did they search, but they comforted - many eyewitnesses speak of how the dogs would stop and sit by newly-recovered victims, giving them a sense of hope and relief, before moving on to look for the next. As the situation became desperate, and the rescue workers and fire teams became utterly distraught at the amount of people who were recovered dead, these dogs brought them comfort, sitting with them on breaks, letting them grieve.
Many of these dogs are old, and have passed away. Let us remember the courage and loyalty they showed at such a horrendous event. They didn’t have a choice, but nonetheless they did what was asked of them and helped save countless lives. Don’t let their bravery be forgotten today either, or their determination to be a ‘good dog’ despite the scary and dangerous environment around them.