Goodbye to the Last 9/11 Rescue Dog

· April 22, 2018

The last of the dogs that participated in the rescue operations after the 9/11 terrorist attacks just passed away. She was a golden retriever named Bretagne and was honored by the members of the Texas Task Force 1, where she had served as a rescue dog until 2009.

Bretagne, rescue dog at the World Trade Center

Bretagne, 16 years old, was put down in a veterinarian clinic in Houston due to complications with her kidneys. Almost 15 years before, she had been sent with her instructor, Denise Corliss, from Texas to New York to serve survivors of the 9/11 attacks.

The dog and Corliss were in the disaster zone for ten days. The woman remembers that the dog, not yet 2 years old back then, responded very quickly to the terrible situation. She immediately began her task of searching for people under the rubble.

Bretagne also formed part of the teams that helped victims of the infamous Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans.

The last rescue dog that participated in the rescue efforts after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York has died. Hopefully the memory of Bretagne will make us reflect on the good that animals offer us humans everyday. May we return their love.

An honorable farewell

A great number of first responders escorted Bretagne to the veterinarian center where she was put down (here you can see a video). They placed an American flag over her body as a tribute.

One year before, Corliss had taken the dog to visit the 9/11 memorial. In addition, the two participated in a feature done by NBC; they even met with former president George W. Bush.

Bretagne became an ambassador for rescue dogs in retirement, visited many elementary schools, and was also nominated for the Hero Dog Award of the American Humane Association.

Bretagne, a born rescue dog

Bretagne the rescue dog on site.

Corliss remembers that the first time she saw Bretagne, she just knew she was going to become a great rescue dog. She was certainly a determined puppy.

Rescue dogs have a vital job in finding disaster survivors. In fact, they are much more efficient and much quicker than any type of machine that could be used for the same purpose.

It goes without saying that in situations where speed can be the difference between life and death, the work of these good-hearted dogs is irreplaceable.

But more than that, they do something that no technology has been able to do: they can detect bodies under the rubble. 

Rescue dogs, man’s best friend in disasters

A rescue dog has special qualities: intuition and stubbornness, plus exceptional olfactory and hearing abilities. Most of all, Bretagne was very persistent, according to Corliss. 

When a dog find a person — dead or alive — they start to call the attention of the first responders. They do so by barking, running around in circles by the site, and sitting down on the spot and not moving.

Let’s hope that Bretagne’s memory makes us reflect on all the good that dogs bring to us human beings. Hopefully we can reciprocate with all the love and respect that these brave animals deserve.

Source of the photos: Facebook Texas Task Force 1