Last Surviving 9/11 Rescue Dog Finally Revisits World Trade Center Site
Meet Bretagne (pronounced "Brittany"), a 15-year-old golden retriever who absolutely should win Best Dog at the upcoming Hero Dog Awards. (She actually is nominated—you can vote here.)
Bretagne was one of many dogs brought in following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to search for survivors and human remains in the rubble of Ground Zero. The dog and her longtime handler and owner, Denise Corliss of Cypress, Texas, returned to that site for the first time since the recovery efforts 13 years ago. They shared their story with the 'Today' show's Tom Brokaw.
Here's an image of Bretagne taking a much-needed nap during one of her many 12-hours shifts at Ground Zero back in September 2001:
Reaching age 15 is a good long life for a golden retriever (she's about 93 in human years), and it may have something to do with Bretagne's job as a search-and-rescue dog. A study conducted by Dr. Cindy Otto tracked the health of such dogs for years and found that they tend to have longer lifespans than other dogs.
“They have a bond with their handlers, they have purpose, they have physical fitness—it’s all really good for the dog and for the person who does this work,” Otto said. “Even on terrible assignments when they’re finding remains instead of survivors—can you imagine the closure they provided for families?”
We sure hope Bretagne enjoys her trip back to the Big Apple. She's certainly earned it.