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September 2023

Never Forget The 9/11 Ground Zero Search Dogs

Sunday, September 11, 2016
posted by Jim Murphy

last-dogdogrescue3This is the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our country. I’m sure all of you remember where you were during that horrific time. During this chaos, nearly 3,000 people died and nearly 300 or so search dogs worked long hours and used their powerful noses to try to find survivors.

On June 6, 2016, the last of the search dogs died at age 16 with her longtime handler and best friend by her side. Here’s the story as published by Today Animals and Pets.

Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”), a whip-smart golden retriever with feathery fur and a sunny smile, lived an adventure-packed life until the very end. In recent weeks, though, she began experiencing kidney failure and slowing down. When Bretagne failed to do her favorite thing for three consecutive days — eat — her owner Denise Corliss realized it was time to say goodbye.

“She was really anxious last night and she just wanted to be with me,” Corliss told TODAY on Monday. “So I laid down with her, right next to her. When she could feel me, she could settle down and go to sleep. I slept with her like that all night.”

Bretagne retired from formal search work at age 9, but she never lost her love of adventure or her work ethic. Her retirement years turned out to be almost as epic as her younger years, in large part because Corliss realized Bretagne needed tailor-made physical and mental stimulation as she aged.

Bretagne made national news at age 15 when she returned to Ground Zero with Corliss for the first time since the 2001 terrorist attacks. NBC News’ Tom Brokaw interviewed Corliss at the 9/11 Memorial and also spent time with Bretagne, who was a 2014 finalist for the American Humane Association’s annual Hero Dog Awards.

So today, as you give up and serve your best friend his dog food, get his dog leash and take him for his first walk of the day and toss him his favorite dog toy, think of all the innocent people and first responders who lost their lives in those attacks and also remember, the tremendous help that the search and rescue dogs provided during that horrible day!

Remember, your pets count!

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