As we near the anniversary of September 11, 2001, I know we are all remembering the lives that were lost, celebrating the lives that were saved, and thanking the heroes that spent so many days and nights in recovery efforts.
[photogallerylink id=60570 align=right]In any disaster, search and rescue dogs are so critical to finding those still hanging on, and recovering those that are lost. Hundreds of search and rescue dogs worked day and night with their handlers at Ground Zero in New York and at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Over 100 FEMA search and rescue dogs were deployed to the two sites, and hundreds more dogs and handlers arrived from around the country and around the world to help the search. Today, less than 100 dogs, and only14 FEMA dogs, are still alive as we remember a decade later.
One of the search and rescue dogs at Ground Zero was 3-year old Bretagne, a Golden Retriever. She and her FEMA handler Denise Corliss, arrived in New York from Texas on September 12 and worked almost non-stop for 9 days. Ground Zero was Bretagne’s first search and rescue mission after completing her training. She also helped after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Today, Bretagne is 13 years old and retired, although she still insists on accompanying Denise and her new dog Aid’n on drills and small searches.
For more information about Bretagne and other FEMA search and rescue dogs, visit the NY Times Magazine article about the new book, Retrieved by Charlotte Dumas.