A heroic 9/11 rescue dog has returned to the site of the World Trade Center for the first time since the attacks happened at Ground Zero. Bretagne was only a two year old golden retriever in 2001 but the bravery and service of the dog as a search and rescue canine during the aftermath of Sept. 11 ended up making an extremely strong impact on those she was around and has never been forgotten.
The retriever, which is now age 15, was both raised and trained by owner Denise Corliss, who lived in Texas. It took approximately two years for Corliss to bring Bretagne home and train her into becoming a part of Texas Task Force One, which is a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force. When she got her first assignment, it was to report at Ground Zero.
Just last week, for the very first time since the attacks occurred and Bretagne had performed her duties, she went back to New York City She and Corliss saw the Sept. 11 Memorial and even though it could not have appeared any more different than the ruins they toiled through 13 years ago, several of the emotions were exactly the same.
Ms. Corliss stated that seeing the memorial site took her breath away. She declared that it was a feeling that was very similar to how she felt when she first saw the debris. However now it was peaceful and calm, so very much unlike before. Right after 9/11 had happened, everyone at Ground Zero was feeling such enormous sadness. All the people there wanted to help in some way. She added that it was an honor that she and Bretagne were able to respond in the way they did.
Dr. Cindy Otto, who is one of the veterinarians who took care of numerous 9/11 search and rescue dogs, explained that Bretagne is, as far as anyone knows, the only dog that is still living that worked at Ground Zero. There were two canines stationed over in Staten Island after the attacks, an English springer spaniel named Morgan and another search dog.
In 2001, Bretagne was a young dog but she had incredible focus, Corliss told the media. After she arrived in New York, she completed grueling 12 hour shifts of looking through the wreckage that had once been the World Trade Center for possible survivors.
Ms. Corliss explained that the Sept. 11 mission was Bretagne’s very first, but she worked through it like a pro. She did not get hurt one time, she did not get cut or fall, she did great. Corliss explained that Bretagne was also extremely sensitive to the expressions of companion human rescuers, often performing as a therapy dog for the other responders. She helped them be able to smile while she kept company with them during their breaks.
After the golden retriever finished the search and rescue assignment in New York, she performed another seven years of active duty and aided in looking for survivors after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Bretagne retired in 2008 and now spends time in aiding children learning how to read.
It was in the first half of this year that she was picked to be one out of eight finalists for a Hero Dog Award by the American Humane Association because of her amazing performance in the 9/11 search effort, successive years of search and rescue work and also aiding the public even after she retired. She received $1,500 for Dr. Otto’s Vet Working Dog Center, and will also end up winning $5,000 for the organization if she gets the highest amount of votes online by Sept. 15. Bretagne may have only been a two year old golden retriever at the time of the attacks on the World Trade Center but she performed in an amazing way.
To vote for Bretagne, any readers of this article can find the link to her page in the source links below. Such an heroic dog deserves to win.
By Kimberly Ruble