September 14, 2014

USA: The Last Surviving 9/11 Search and Rescue Dog Returns to Visit the Ground Zero Memorial Site :) ♥

E Online
written by Jenna Mullins
Thursday September 11, 2014

Today our nation remembers the victims of the terrorists attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, as well as the responders who risked their lives at Ground Zero trying to rescue those trapped in the rubble. And one of those workers, who also happens to be four-legged and extremely furry, is being honored for her tireless efforts on that tragic day.

For the first time since that devastating September morning, the last known living 9/11 search and rescue dog, a 15-year-old golden retriever named Bretagne, has returned to the memorial site with her handler, Denise Corliss.

In an emotional interview with NBC News' Tom Brokaw, Denise and Bretagne walked through the memorial together while she opened up about her first deployment ever with Texas Task Force 1 and with Bretagne, who was just 2 years old at the time.

"After 9/11, everybody—all of us, felt such sadness," Corliss, 49, told Brokaw. "We all wanted to help. I just felt so honored that we were able to respond. I really believed we could find somebody—anybody, if we could just get to the right void space. But our reality was much different."

During the grueling 12-hour shifts, when Bretagne wasn't searching for trapped survivors with her incredibly keen sense of smell, she and the other rescue dogs would visit the brave firefighters, doctors and police officers who were tirelessly working the site as well.

"You'd see firefighters sitting there, unanimated, stone-faced, no emotion and then they'd see a dog and break out into a smile," Dr. Cindy Otto, a vet who cared for search dogs at Ground Zero, remembered. "Those dogs brought the power of hope. They removed the gloom for just an instant, and that was huge because it was a pretty dismal place to be."

Since 9/11, Bretagne and Denise have worked many other disasters sites together, including Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ivan. Bretagne retired from search and rescue work at age 9, but she now visits schools to help first-graders and special needs children learn how to read aloud.

Bretagne is one of the eight finalists for the American Humane Association's annual Hero Dog Awards. To vote for Bretagne and to see the other amazing nominees, visit:

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