The Canine Heroes of 9/11

Posted by Pia

With this tragic anniversary upon us once again, I thought it fitting to re-post a tribute to some 4-legged heroes whose loyalty was evident on that fateful day. Many dedicated canines reported for service after the 9/11 attacks. The stunning photographs below are just a few of those brave dogs, over a decade later.

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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.

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!

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 (17)

  • Thank you, Dr Pia for reminding us of the four-legged heros of 9-11. Our Dad and human brother, Gideon (both firefighters) went to NYC 2 weeks after to bring supplies and help search. What a very sad, tragic time in the history of our country. We hope people never forget.

    We must apologize for not posting on Wednesday. You see we depend on Mom or Dad to get us to this blog. Well there must have been a break down in communication.
    So....happy belated birthday, James Dean, Persian boy cat! We hope all your birthday dreams came true and you need today to recover!
    And GK! You rock, man! Mom liked the photo of you laughing the best.
    And we can not believe that you do not have your own "man cave". You need one with bigger than life size photos of you in your award-winning poses! And all your trophies, ribbons and awards displayed on shelves with spot lights! And videos of all your shows, especially Westminster.
    Francesca and Sharkey have their blog....you need your own man cave, dude!
    And Zoe and Chloe, we are behind you 100%! We would be pissed to. The be left behind. That's just not cool.
    We Glue Squadders need to unite!
    Maybe, after our nap....and breakfast!
    Pugs and kisses.
    Brutus and Max

  • Thank you Dr. Pia for sharing these photos of such awesome dogs :) They are true heroes!!
    It's another hot day here in NJ :( Mom said my winter coat is already coming in that is why the heat is really bothering me :( She has the pool filled already to the top. Don't know if i will even go out today, might just stay in the AC.
    I had a fun night last night. Cousin Nicole came over after her dance class. I like jumping on her ;) but I don't think she likes it to much.
    Oh well, off to cool off, might lay on mom's bed again. She left her door open :)
    Have a great day everyone and keep cool.

    Love
    Chloe xx

  • Good morning Dr. Pia,
    These are really special friends. We must remember them always. I wish my nose worked as good as theirs do. I'm little (like Minnow). Just think the tiny places we could go to help someone that is trapped. We could take an energy bar and a small bag of water.
    It's raining here at last, I'm off for my morning nap.
    Your pal,
    Rebel

  • Hi Dr. Pia, I missed seeing beautiful Minnow this morning, but I do enjoy seeing those handsome dogs that worked so hard on that 9/11 event that happened on September 11, 2001! I wasn't born yet when it happened, but my Mom certainly remembers seeing it so much on TV back then! The crew members involved sure appreciated the help of those great dogs who worked extremely well, also! Please give sweet Minnow a big hug for me and hope you both have another great weekend! Brutus and Max, thank you for your great comments this morning! Hope to hear from all of you later! I need to go back and read all of your great blogs from a bit earlier now that I am feeling lots better after visiting my great vet! Love, Dudley Do Right XOXOXO+

  • Hello Dr. Pia and all the GS buddies:
    These pictures are amazing, and we will always be in awe of such devoted canines. We live in Southern Ontario, close to the border with Buffalo, NY and even though it wasn't happening in our country, we were glued to the TV on that terrible day (and for many days after...) We salute all the hardworking rescue dogs that took part in this enormous undertaking. Martha, Riley boy & Miz Lu.

  • Good Morning Dr. Pia

    What a great post. Those dogs are true heroes as well as their handlers. I heard they suffered damage to their paws and lungs from being at ground zero. What a horrible day that was and we must never forget.

    God Bless us all...........

    Zoe

  • Hi Y'all,
    We are so grateful for all who give their time and lives to search and rescue, whether it be two legged or four legged. Mis has a print of a painting done by Ron Burns, of a Explosives detective dog named Sirius that died working in WTC#2 on 9/11. He gave his life trying to keep us safe just like so many men and women. TO THIS I SAY THANK YOU! They will always hold a special place in my heart!
    And did you hear about the cockroaches? Mis's alma mater, NCSU has some researchers there that are making cyborgs out of Madagascar Cockroaches so they can send them into tight places looking for disaster survivors! They guide them by remote control and equip them with cameras. This is very cool stuff.
    Another hot/humid day again, but they say relief will be here by Friday afternoon so everyone hang on! Okay, some will be feeling it sooner than we will but it's coming!!! WhoooooooHooooooo!!!
    Have a Doggy Good Day!
    Dixie Boy

  • :-) Dr.Pia, how heartwarming those beautiful photographs of the rescue dogs by Charlotte Dumas, they made me happy and sad at the same time knowing what happened and what the dogs and rescuers had to go through...a heartfelt Thank You to all the search parties, canine and human :-)
    I watched a documentary about search dogs at the Twin towers. Even though some are trained to find a living person when they can't, their instinct goes into looking for cadavers...otherwise they become very frustrated. They actually had to set up a "find" alive person to satisfy the dogs search and then treat for them...very interesting indeed.
    Thank You for sharing

    delia & Kitty =^. .^=

  • Thank you Dr. Pia! Mom showed me all the tributes that were being paid to the heroes, both two and four leggy, on the anniversary of 9/11. It makes a dog proud to be a dog, to know that so many eagerly go to places where such sadness has occurred and make a difference, either by finding or by comforting.
    A bientot!

  • Thank you Dr. Pia for sharing the stories of those great doggies..they are are truly heros...I salute them, love, Chewy and Black Mama and the tribe

  • Hello Dr.Pia, Zoe, Ruby and all my glue squad buddies,
    We certainly salute the brave rescue dogs and their handlers who worked so hard to help out during the search efforts following 9/11. Our hearts go out to every brave rescue member and the families os all humans involved. These are brave and courageous canines and people.
    Welcome to the chiweenies Sophie and Chloe who posted yesterday. Maddox, you had us in stitches about reading "Chows in the buff" magazine!!
    THANK YOU to Rebel, Ruby,Zoe, Kitty, Sonya, maddox, Brutus and Max, Sweet Dudley and everyone who remembered James Dean's birthday and his special day!! He had catnip and catmint, played with wonderful new spider web printed Martha Stewart mice toys and lots of treats! Today he is back to reading about orb web weaving spiders with Mom.
    We have had FOUR thunderstorms already today!! Dixie Boy, sure hope your humidity is less than ours! Chloe are you out by the pool today? Zoe, are you getting ready for more football? Missy Chow, how about those Patriots??? They play my Jets tonight (Jimmy is a Patriots fan!!).
    Kitty, Jimmy loved your birthday Meuwwingg song.
    Off to dream about cyborg cockroaches....or maybe tacos...
    Abby the pug/peke/frenchie

  • Thank you for such a beautiful tribute. These animals and their human handlers are truly heroes, yet so humble.

  • Auntie Lucinda, come rescue us quick...mom has been saying the "G"word-groomer-all morning and now she's getting out our leashes and collars...Mayer and silly Sophie are dancing around like we're going to the Park; but I know it's a trap! We could have our toys and kibble packed and ready to roll in less than an hour! You know we'll be good and not get into any trouble..hehehehe, and besides, we need to have a chat with the little red cattle dog about the true Naughty One, our hero Cora Belle, who taught us all the cute little tricks we think are so funny; but make you and our mom pull your hair out!
    Also thanks to Dr. Pia and the wonderful pictures she posted today. We will never forget the hard work our 4 legged pals did on that awful day and how greatful we are to them!
    I must now go hide under my moms bed. Right in the middle where she can't reach me and I'm not coming out till she gets this groomer nonsense out of her system. Let Sophie and Mayer go, I'm staying home!!
    The Queen Cheweenie, Chloe

  • Hello Dr. Pia & all my Glue Squad Buddies,
    Very late today, as my nursing duties have taken priority. I love seeing all these photos---all my heroes for sure. Mom and Dad have an autographed copy of Charlotte Dumas book, Retrieved and gave it for Christmas last year. Mom sent to Denmark for her to autograph them. I shouldn't be afraid of a little rain, when these dogs risk their lives. Maybe if I got up close and personal with some of them, they could advise me. It was fun also to hear from the Cheweenie Queen. We have loved that name Cora Belle gave them. So there is 3 of you? I always thought just 2. You must go meet Chewy. I bet there could be a Warrior Prince Biscuit party in the works. Must get back to the nurses station. Have a GEM of a night.
    Love and licks,
    Ruby

  • Thank you for sharing the beautiful photographs of these wonderful dogs. I just ordered the book and can't wait to get it. I have a rescue and a puppy mill survivor at home and I look at this blog every day and get great joy from it. Thank you Pam..

  • Hi Ruby...there are just 2 Cheweenies...we have a new brother, Mr. Mayer, that our mom rescued in Feb. We tell him everyday what a lucky boy he is to be living with us now! Auntie Lucinda and Uncle James drop in from time to time and bring us the coolest surprises and goodies.
    Our mom had surgery on her foot in July and yesterday she spent most of the day laying in bed. Needless to say, she had her 3 best buddies who were more than happy to snuggle with her and try to make her feel better.

  • All these wonderful dogs and their efforts love seeing them honored here at The Daily Wag. Their stories bring tears to my eyes their photos show the life they have led. So precious each and every one. Thank you to them and to their guardians. R.I.P to those that have crossed The Rainbow Bridge.
    Pam from California

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