Remembering the Search and Rescue Dogs of 9/11 attacks

Well, it has been sixteen years since the terror attacks at World Trade Center and Pentagon. The attacks caused immense damages to lives and property forcing around 10,000 emergency rescue workers to offer their helping hands. These heroes definitely did their jobs with their best efforts. However, there were around 300 dogs too who were deployed for the search and rescue operation following the attacks. This article is about those unsung heroes who selflessly offered a momentous help to mankind.

Image source; Dogtime
  1. Appollo

    Appollo was a Search and Rescue dog who was deployed by the K-9 unit of the New York PoliceDepartment in the search and rescue operation in Twin Towers and Pentagon post the attacks. This German Shepherd, along with his handler Peter Davis, was the first SAR dog to arrive at the site and would work with his handler for up to 16 hours a day. Appollo was so focused in his work that even when falling debris almost got him killed, he was ready to work as soon as the debris was removed off his body. His heroics were honored with an American Kennel Club Ace award and a Dickin’ medal; animals’ equivalent of the Victoria Cross. Appollo died in 2006 at the age of 13. Image source; Pinterest

  2. Bretagne

    Bretagne was a SAR dog who was two years old when she got deployed into the SAR operation following the attacks. Popularly known as ‘Britney’, she had started training with her handler at just eight weeks old. After the attacks, the duo would work up to 16 hours a day for around ten days trying their best to rescue people. Bretagne retired from the Search and Rescue job at the age of nine, but stayed committed to her urge of helping people by being a goodwill ambassador to a local fire department. This Golden Retriever remained the only living dog of the 9/11 SAR operation till June 6, 2016.

    Image source; CNN
  3. Riley

    Riley, a Golden Retriever, was one of the 300 dogs who were deployed into the SAR operation post the attacks. He was trained to find live people and worked desperately for the same. Riley rose to popularity and became a family favorite when a photo taken of him at the World Trade Center site was released. In the photo, Riley is in a basket being sent for a search and rescue operation all alone. Riley breathed his last on 26th February, 2010. However, his involvement in that rescue operation shall remain immortal.

    Image source; U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres
  4. Coby and Guinness

    Coby and Guinness were a Lab-duo, who were deployed at Ground zero post the attacks. They worked unstintingly through the ruins of World Trade Center before coming back to South California to retire at their handler’s home. Coby was six years old before he left to help in the search and rescue. He would work with his handler David Graves, Redlands Battalion Chief, for around twelve hours during the night. On the other hand, Guinness would work with Graves’ wife, Shelia McKee for around twelve hours during the day. Guinness was a yellow lab who retired in 2005 to be with his handler. The couple recalls the SAR operation saying, the area they covered everyday was much larger than they were ever trained for. Coby died in 2011 at the age of sixteen only to get followed by Guinness who died a year later.
    Image Source; NBC

  5. Jake

    Jake was a rescued stray dog who later got involved in rescuing people. He was rescued by Mary Flood, a member of the Utah Task Force 1. He is best noted for his work after the September 11 attacks where he worked indefatigably for seventeen days. Jake retired in 2006 following the diagnosis of cancer in his body. In his later years, Jake helped other dogs to get trained as Search and Rescue Operation dogs. Moreover, he worked as a therapy dog at Utah Nursing homes. Jake breathed his last on July 25, 2007.

    Image source; Toptenz

Dogsee Chew salutes all those unsung heroes who worked tirelessly to find and rescue people. May their departed souls rest in peace!!

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