She was older and grayer than when she combed the wreckage of the Twin Towers after the day terrorists sent New York City’s World Trade Center falling to the ground. Her gait was stiff, but her eyes were still bright as she walked down a row of firefighters who came to give a final salute to one who “brought the power of hope” to the carnage and despair of the debris that trapped the living and dead after the dark days of 9/11.
Bretagne, the last surviving search dog who helped rescuers hunt for the survivors of the 9/11 attack, was euthanized Monday after suffering kidney failure.
On her way into the Fairfield Animal Hospital in Cypress, Texas, she and owner Denise Corliss passed between rows of saluting firefighters who gave the hero one final honor.
When Bretagne stopped eating, Corliss knew the time had come.
“She was really anxious last night and she just wanted to be with me,” Corliss said Monday. “So I laid down with her, right next to her. When she could feel me, she could settle down and go to sleep. I slept with her like that all night.”
Cindy Otto, a veterinarian at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center who also cared for the dogs of Ground Zero, recalled Bretagne and all the others like her.
“You’d see firefighters sitting there, unanimated, stone-faced, no emotion, and then they’d see a dog and break out into a smile,” she said. “Those dogs brought the power of hope. They removed the gloom for just an instant. Bretagne’s partnership with Denise Corliss was magical.”
Bretagne also assisted in searches for other disasters.
“She had lived longer and accomplished more than anybody,” Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Padovan said. “She was one of a kind. She was always eager to do searchers, even after she ‘retired.’”
Last known 9/11 Ground Zero search dog, Bretagne, dies at age 16. May she RIP. https://t.co/em6BhdtWGk
— #AT (@andytelasai) June 7, 2016
h/t: The Daily Mail