Remembering All of 9/11
On this solemn day, remembering 9/11 can be a very difficult task for any American. The nation’s hearts and kind words still go out to the grieving families and friends of the victims. Alongside, the thousands of 2-legged heroes were hundreds of 4-legged heroes – 300 plus. This blog was written not as to diminish the remembrance of all the human lives lost, but to also remember everything that our 4-legged companions did on that dreadful day. To remember the search and rescue dogs of 9/11. These companions worked tirelessly for weeks and months locating any survivors; and when the last survivor was found, they continued to locate any remains or material items such as jewelry from the victims in order to return them to their families and hopefully help ease their grief. Here we pay tribute to just five of those faithful and loyal canines.
Bretagne (pronounced Brittany)
Bretagne and her owner-handler, Denise Corliss, were members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They arrived in New York shortly after the attacks to help search for survivors and victims. At Ground Zero, Bretagne did not work with a leash and was given the ability to move freely over the rubble. Bretagne searched the huge piles of concrete and steel debris where she squirmed into small spaces and crawled into dark holes to discover multiple deceased victims.
Sage became a certified FEMA search and rescue dog at just 18-months old. Searching through the rubble at the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks was her first mission and she made an astounding discovery, she sniffed out the body of the terrorist who had flown the American Flight 77 into the building!
Trakr and his handler, James Symington, arrived to the 9/11 attacks by the next morning, on September 12th. Trakr and Symington quickly discovered the very last survivor of the World Trade Center attacks, Genelle Guzman-McMillan. She was making her way down the stairs of the south tower when it collapsed; she was on the 13th floor. It was approximately 6:00AM when Trakr sniffed out life beneath the rubble and alerted the firefighters. Genelle is one of the twenty survivors who had been inside the buildings when they collapsed; she had been trapped under the rubble for approximately 27 hours.
Hansen and his handler, Steve Smaldon, stand out for their incredible longevity and dedication to the search of the 9/11 attacks. In total, they worked Ground Zero for approximately 150 days! This is far longer than most of the dogs who participated in the search and rescue effort, which usually lasted anywhere from seven to fourteen days.
Roselle, a certified guide dog, is best known for her loyalty to her owner, Michael Hingson. Roselle and Hingson were on the 78th floor at the time of the attacks, just 18 floors below the crash site. Amongst the chaos, confusion, noise, smoke, and falling debris Roselle calmly walked and guided Hingson down the 1,463 steps of the north tower. The descent took the pair just over an hour to complete and when they were about two blocks away is when the north tower started to collapse.
*Featured image courtesy of Fourpawsinheaven.com.