On September 11, 2001, and the days that followed, there were many heroes who emerged, and whose stories have become part of the collective memory of Americans. But one group of heroes has probably gotten less recognition than they deserve, at least outside of circles of animal lovers: The search dogs.
Following the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, dogs were employed to search the rubble for signs of life. As the years have gone by, most of those animals have passed on. Now only one dog who searched for survivors at Ground Zero, a 16-year-old golden retriever named Bretagne (prounounced “Brittany”), remains.
Bretagne and her owner, Denise Corliss were brought to New York City by Bark Post, as part of their “Dog’s Best Day” series. They were greeted by a video billboard in Times Square welcoming them, and with the dedication of a stone placed in Bretagne’s honor at the 9/11 memorial.
New Yorkers have an ill-deserved reputation of being cold and unfriendly. But Corliss, who lives in Texas, said that the reception she and Bretagne received from the people they met was fantastic.
“It was really surprising and very touching to see how many people were involved and excited about her coming back to New York,” Corliss said. “Of course, it’s not just about Bretagne. It’s about the love and support that New York showed for those who responded to 9/11. She’s kind of a symbol of that.
“People we met on this trip were very emotional and very nice to us. People were hugging her, and some were crying.”
The only other search dog known to still be alive from the approximately 300 that helped in rescue efforts following 9/11 is a springer spaniel named Morgan, who helped on Staten Island in the days following the attacks.
Here’s a video of Bretagne’s very good day, via YouTube/BarkPost:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezcHy8DkrmE?rel=0&w=640&h=360]
Here’s an interview with Denise Corliss, via Today:
Featured image via Denise Corliss/BarkPost/Today