When the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001, nearly 10,000 emergency rescue workers joined in the efforts to help. More than 300 of those heroes were dogs.
Today we remember and honor the Hero Dogs of 9/11 along with the countless people who had their lives irrevocably changed by man’s best friend. From search and rescue dogs to comfort dogs to bomb detection dogs, these canines’ stories of courage, healing and long-lasting legacy must never be forgotten.
Bretagne (pronounced Brit-nee) was two years old at the time of the attacks. She and Denise Corliss, her owner and handler, worked at Ground Zero for 10 days as their mission went from rescue to recovery.
Corliss, a volunteer firefighter with the Cy-Fair Fire Department, began training Bretagne for search and rescue work at just eight weeks old. The duo soon became a FEMA-certified canine team that also worked in the rescue missions during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ivan.
Bretagne retired from formal search work at 9-years old, but continued to work as a goodwill ambassador for her local fire department, and as a reading assistance dog at a local elementary school.
Bretagne remained the only living 9/11 search and rescue dog until June 6, 2016, when she was laid to rest just shy of 17 years old.
As Bretagne entered the animal hospital in Cypress, Texas, firefighters and search and rescue workers from the fire department lined the sidewalk and saluted. She was carried out later, her body draped in an American flag.
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