On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, only a very few of the aging Search and Rescue dogs that risked their lives on that day are still alive. These dogs willingly searched through the debris at Ground Zero to help locate victims, and many also provided comfort to rescue workers and the families of the victims. Last Saturday September 8th, a 400 pound bronze statue featuring a German shepherd rescue dog was unveiled at Diamond in the Pines, a Long Island park. This statue honors the often unsung canine heroes including 9/11 rescue dogs, as well as military and law enforcement dogs.
One of the last remaining Search and Rescue dogs, a yellow Lab named Guinness, passed away just a few months ago, on June 29th 2012. Guinness worked tirelessly for 10 days in the aftermath of 9/11, and afterwards continued to help in other search and rescues including assisting in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Over time, Guinness gradually lost his sight and hearing and Guiness’ owner and handler finally knew it was time to say goodbye.
This solemn day is a good time to take a moment to remember and give thanks for the service these brave dogs provided then, as well as the service countless other Search and Rescue dogs and their handlers continue to provide now with quiet heroism and dignity, following disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and fire.