The Four-Legged First Responders of 9/11

Posted by Pia

Remember the loyalty and commitment of such hero pooches as Woodrow Wilson's Sgt. Stubby? And remember how life-saving and powerful photography can be in the plight to help animals? Well thankfully, canine heroes and gifted artists continue to partner up in notable projects to further animal welfare!

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Guinness -14 yrs- Highland, CA. Photo by Charlotte Dumas.
Guinness' resume includes 10 days of service at the Twin Tower's site in 2011 and searching for survivors in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina and other such catastrophic hurricanes.

1 Guinness -14 yrs- Highland, CA. Photo by Charlotte Dumas. Guinness' resume includes 10 days of service at the Twin Tower's site in 2011 and searching for survivors in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina and other such catastrophic hurricanes.

Moxie -13 yrs- Winthrop MA. Photo by Charlotte Dumas
On Sept 11, 2001 Moxie arrived at The Twin Tower's ground zero. She worked for 8 days, and while she is trained to specifically search for survivors, she also identified deceased victim's remains for officials. Since being retired at age 7, Moxie has spent time by the water reflecting on her experiences.

2 Moxie -13 yrs- Winthrop MA. Photo by Charlotte Dumas On Sept 11, 2001 Moxie arrived at The Twin Tower's ground zero. She worked for 8 days, and while she is trained to specifically search for survivors, she also identified deceased victim's remains for officials. Since being retired at age 7, Moxie has spent time by the water reflecting on her experiences.

Bailey -14 yrs- Thomas Station, TN. Photo by Charlotte Dumas
Bailey assisted at the Pentagon following the 9/11 attacks. Later she was actively involved in Tennessee wilderness searches. According to her guardian, ‘‘Even today, if I say we’re going to search, she’ll get all excited. She still perks up.’’

3 Bailey -14 yrs- Thomas Station, TN. Photo by Charlotte Dumas Bailey assisted at the Pentagon following the 9/11 attacks. Later she was actively involved in Tennessee wilderness searches. According to her guardian, ‘‘Even today, if I say we’re going to search, she’ll get all excited. She still perks up.’’

Orion -13 yrs- Vacaville, CA.- Photo by Charlotte Dumas 
According to his human guardian,

4 Orion -13 yrs- Vacaville, CA.- Photo by Charlotte Dumas According to his human guardian, "He loved the work. His purpose in living was doing search and rescue work.’’ Dedicated Orion worked for five days after the attacks on the Twin Towers and later assisted in searches for hikers missing in the High Sierras, at elevations of up to 12,000 feet.

Red -11 yrs- Annapolis, MD. Photo by Charlotte Dumas
Trained in search and rescue, Red worked at the Pentagon site for 11 days and was of great help in the identification of victims. According the her human guardian, ‘‘Red wants to work, but her body just can’t do it anymore.’’ She retired from search and rescue in July 2011.

5 Red -11 yrs- Annapolis, MD. Photo by Charlotte Dumas Trained in search and rescue, Red worked at the Pentagon site for 11 days and was of great help in the identification of victims. According the her human guardian, ‘‘Red wants to work, but her body just can’t do it anymore.’’ She retired from search and rescue in July 2011.

Bretagne -12 yrs- Cypress, Tx. Photo by Charlotte Dumas
This loyal soul's first first deployment was for 10 days at ground zero. Her seven years of active service that followed included search and rescue in regions affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

6 Bretagne -12 yrs- Cypress, Tx. Photo by Charlotte Dumas This loyal soul's first first deployment was for 10 days at ground zero. Her seven years of active service that followed included search and rescue in regions affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Tara -16 yrs- Ipswich, MA. Photo by Charlotte Dumas
Tara arrived on Ground Zero at about 1 a.m. the day following the attacks. According to her guardian, ‘‘There was a lot of hope that people would be found alive,’’ at that time. In her nine years of search and rescue, she located a crane-collapse victim and assisted in wilderness searches. Loyal Tara died in 2011.

7 Tara -16 yrs- Ipswich, MA. Photo by Charlotte Dumas Tara arrived on Ground Zero at about 1 a.m. the day following the attacks. According to her guardian, ‘‘There was a lot of hope that people would be found alive,’’ at that time. In her nine years of search and rescue, she located a crane-collapse victim and assisted in wilderness searches. Loyal Tara died in 2011.

Many loyal canines reported for service after the 9/11 attacks. The stunning photographs above are just a few of those brave dogs, over a decade later.

Dutch photographer, Charlotte Dumas is garnering some well-deserved recognition for such 4-legged heroes. Dumas' book, "Retrieved," is a tribute to these volunteer dogs and the humans who trained, accompanied and supported them. Still moved by press images she saw in September of 2001, Dumas set out to photograph, the now graying faces, of those heroic dogs who remained alive over a decade after their 9/11 deployment.

"Retrieved" proves that it is never too late to honor our fellow creatures. On that fateful day, these canines risked their safety and searched tirelessly for those who were not only strangers to them, but also members a different species altogether. Their commitment to helping a species whose members can at times be cruel and neglectful of a dog's inherent value and worth, is itself a testament to these very worthy and loyal souls.

How "Retrieved", came about, in photographer Charlotte Dumas' own words...
On and after September 11, 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed close to a hundred search dogs along with their handlers—from a network of 26 active task forces from 18 different states—to both the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. In the aftermath of the attacks the dogs searched day and night for survivors, making sure no one would be stranded in the rubble, while rescue workers and firemen slowly made their way through the chaos and debris.
In my memory, the photographs of these dogs that appeared in the newspapers stayed with me most strongly: a dog being transported in a stokes basket on cables suspended high over the wreckage; another dog intently searching while maneuvering over enormous bend beams; dogs receiving eye drops after and in between shifts.
I can still recall these images clearly. The dogs searched and comforted, they gave consolation to anyone involved. Seeing these pictures, I was also comforted. They somehow emanated a spark of hope amidst this scene of destruction.
I long wondered what had become of these animals. How many of them would still be alive today, so many years after 9/11? Through FEMA, I was able to locate 15 of the dogs that took part in the rescue operations. I visited them and portrayed them in their homes, where they all still live with their handlers across the U.S.
These animals were all at the same place at the same time, one decade ago, for the same reason: to work. That experience unites them, and was the incentive for me to pursue this subject and to photograph the dogs. They now share the vulnerability of old age while symbolizing a full decade coming to a close.
Charlotte Dumas

A big bravo to Dumas, these canine heroes, the humans who care for them, and... the photographers and artists committed to showcasing the amazing gifts that reside in our fellow creatures !

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

To order a copy of "Retrieved" and to view more of Dumas' stunning images of animals- including horses, tigers, wolves- be sure to visit her website.

Comments (9)

  • Good morning Dr. Pia,
    Such a sad but wonderful blog today. I salute all the dogs that helped during the 9/11 crisis and for all the rescue work they do when there are disasters. I think these dogs are heroes right along with the humans that do the same thing. I told Karen to read this blog too. She is crying. She said these dogs are so special and it is good to see that a lot of them ate still alive.
    Now on a personal note, there is a Glue Squad member that has a birthday today. It is our very own Lynn. Happy Birthday Miss Lynn. Enjoy your day. I know Warrior Prince Basil is having a big celebration at the bridge today. I bet he went all out for it too cause he loved you so much. I bet he gave your recipe to one of the angels for the Warrior Prince cookies so they can all enjoy them at the bridge. Have a wonderful day filled with sunshine and love.
    Later,
    Maddox

  • What a WONDERFUL tribute Dr. Pia! Yes indeed Maddox these doge ARE HEROES...I am so filled with gratitude to those that used their fur-friends to help in the search and rescue....Thank You Charlotte Dumas and Dr. Pia for doing what you do to making the awareness of these special dogs...Kitty thanks you also! ;-)

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lynn, may this day be special with good memories of the past and the future to be filled with more happiness and good memories...and that includes Health and Love. :-) :-)

    My hubbies BD is tomorrow !went and got him a huge cake that I can't eat from :-( BUT, might just taste it for you Lynn ;-)

    Hugs,
    delia & Kitty =^,,^=

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    And hello to you too Dr. Pia. It really is a shame that many people don’t know how smart, loving and helpful dogs can be. And why do they feel this way? I think it is because they want to ‘please’ those they love. Even if we love greatly, we often do things which we shouldn’t. Yesterday I grabbed my tail and was pulling out some hair. Daddy caught me and started yelling at me. He told me to get my but down stairs where he could watch me. I didn’t want to go so I started growling at him. He just pointed at me and yelled more. I growled more; Chows don’t back down. Apparently Daddy doesn’t either. He finely grabbed me and gave me a start in the right direction. I went down stairs but didn’t like it. Within five minutes I came to him to tell him I was sorry. He scratched be behind my ears. We pets may have disagreements with those we love, but are quick to forgive and want to please those we love.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Hello Dr. Pia and Glue Squad Buddies,
    I am in tears as I type---now happy tears they are, I am so grateful for these search and research 4 legged friends and their humans that train and guide them. I want to get Charlotte's book. Her photos are certainly award winning. I know many who will enjoy it for the holidays.

    I am crying over your post too Maddox. Your are very thoughtful in remembering this now 55 year old's birthday. The Warrior Prince memory is very special. You are da man and always guide us Glue Squadders so well. Kitty, thank Mama Delia for the wishes also. Will is fixing me one of my favorite dinners tonight---banana pancakes. The German girl in me loves anything fattening I guess. Then peppermint ice cream with hot fudge. He asked what I wanted and this was it. Having all of my Glue Squad Buddies on a daily basis is the best celebration of all. You bring smiles and laughs on a regular basis. Thank you to all.
    Hugs & smiles,
    Lynn

  • Hi Dr. Pia and Charlotte Dumas, I can't thank you enough for this outstanding blog today! These photos of those beautiful, rescue dogs are absolutely the best! Knowing what they did for many years is the best I have ever seen and read! I hope I can find you book soon, Charlotte! I am so proud of you and these dogs! Sweet Lynn, Happy Birthday-hope you have a great day! Delia, hope your husband has a great Birthday tomorrow! Missy Chow, you sound very artistic and hope you have more fun! James Dean, you are getting better everyday! Cora-Belle, wish the Chiweenies good luck wherever they move to! Nice of Lucinda making boxes for the feral kitties! They are so lucky! Maddox, I understand why Karen was crying because these photos of those great dogs are stunning! Hope all of you have a great day and will check back later! Love to all, Jan and DDR XOXOXO+

  • Dear Dr. Pia,
    What a wonderful and moving tribute to our canine heroes of 9/11. I remember clearly watchingon t.v. the search and rescue dogs tirelessly working beside their brave humans trying to retrieve people there at the WTC site. It is heart wrenching and yet important to think of their courageous efforts during that day and other rescues as well.I think every day about the brave police dogs out there and how hard they work to help protect us.
    Lynn, the happiest of birthday wishes to you!! We look forward each day to see your comments. I bet Prince Basil and Herman are up on rainbow bridge having a party in your honor. We send hugs and here's a toast to you!!
    Love, purrs and woofs to all my glue squad buddies- Tracie, Abby, and James Dean

  • ...what heros my fellow doggies are..I salute them and I also salute each military doggie, police doggie,... special doggies all of them! Yikes, Lynn is having a Birthday..well, that simply calls for being naughty ALL DAY LONG in your honor, gobbling down goodies and barking crazily..Happy Birthday Lynn,Love your pals, Cora-Belle, Lucinda and James..it is misting out..my kind of weather so I better get out there and start acting goofy..over and out, Cora-Belle p.s., since Kittys dad is having a birthday tomarrow I can continue this crazy behavior tomarrow.....oh, Kirby, I still growl at Lucinda..just to put her in her place every now and then( she knows I don't mean it..just a cattledog thing)

  • Hi Dr Pia, this is a wonderful and loving blog especially today. They are real heroes just as much as their owners, the people who have worked with them and go out on these dangerous search & rescues. They have performed great tasks.

    Happy Birthday, Lynn..I know Warrior Prince Basil is watching and wishing you a great day and celebration. He's keeping an eye on Will to make sure the banana pancakes are cooked just right or else, then ice cream...yummy!

    Cora-Belle, sorry the Chiweenies will be moving, let's hope your new neighbors are nice. Watch your porcupine, keep it hidden. Maddox, love your blog today, Mom had a tear or two in her eye. Kirby, dad got a little upset with me last night too. I was playing a little "ruff" with him; and he didn't appreciate it. But I hope your tail is okay.

    The fall air is around us and it feels real nice, nice & cool outdoor weather.

    Hope all my buddies are doing great :-)

    Till next time,
    Missy Chow
    xoxo

  • Missy Chow and Kirby,
    I don't know what to say about the growling thing. I never growled at anybody.
    When any of us do something we aren't supposed to, like chew on something that we are not supposed to, Karen yells loud. We just say, yes maam and stop doing what we are doing. She can yell real loud when we do bad things. I mean loud But then when we stop doing it she says we are good for listening and she hugs us and tells us she didn't want to yell but we have to learn what is allowed and what is not. But Kirby, I feel bad for you that you have that flea bite problem. When it gets cooler the fleas will be gone and then you won't need to bite your tail. And Missy Chow, you are young. You will learn that it is ok to play rough to a degree but you have to be a little careful. If it was a little girl or boy you were playing with, you could hurt them by being rough and I know you wouldn't want to do that.
    Well Glue Squad, I am going to watch Gibbs get his medicine. He doesn't like one of them. He makes goofy faces. It is fun to watch. My bad. Hehehehehe
    Love to all,
    Maddox

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