Everyone who was old enough to realize what was happening on September 11, 2001, remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard the World Trade Center in New York City had been attacked. Whether you saw the towers crumble to the ground on live TV or watched and re-watched the footage after the fact, the images from that day are not something any of us will ever forget.

Heroes came out of the woodwork following the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the form of New York City firefighters, police officers, emergency workers, and civilian volunteers. There were also more than 300 working dogs assisting in countless ways. As the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Union Lake Pet Services would like to take the opportunity to memorialize and salute these dogs of 9/11!

The Dogs of 9/11

Two-year-old Bretange (pronounced Britt-nee) is perhaps the most famous canine hero from September 11. Aided by her owner and handler Denis Corliss, Bretange worked among the rubble for 10 days in an effort that went from rescue to, eventually, recovery. Corliss began Bretagne’s search and rescue training when she was only 8 weeks old, and after their amazing efforts at 9/11, the duo went on to assist in rescue missions during hurricane Katrina, Ivan, and Rita.

A German shepherd named Trakr was another canine whose assistance was vital in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. She’s credited with locating the last survivor buried in the rubble at ground zero. Cadaver dogs also played an important role, such as Red, who spent 11 days searching among the debris at the Pentagon locating deceased victims for DNA identification.

Beyond Search and Rescue

Searching for survivors and the deceased were vital jobs held by the dogs of 9/11, but that wasn’t the only way canines assisted in the days and weeks following the tragedy. Trained therapy dogs also worked to bring enormous comfort to rescue workers and victims by serving at various therapy centers throughout New York City.

Other dogs simply did what they had to do to save their humans. Roselle, a seeing-eye dog, bravely led her owner down 78 flights of stairs in the World Trade Center and got him safely out of the building just 15 minutes before it collapsed.

The Amazing Canine

Finding out that dogs played a pivotal role in our nation’s recovery after 9/11 certainly comes as no surprise to dog owners and animal lovers. Dogs have been by our sides throughout 10,000 years of shared history, growing, learning, and evolving right along with us. The bond between humans and animals is something special – deep, intense, and most definitely unbreakable.

Although these hero dogs of 9/11 are no longer with us, their legacy lives on each and every time we honor them with our words, thoughts, and actions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns about your own amazing canine!