The last known surviving dog who helped with the rescue efforts during the terrorist attacks on September 11 passed away on Monday (June 6). Bretagne, a 16-year-old golden retriever, was euthanized in her hometown in Texas with her handler Denise Corliss by her side the whole time.
Bretagne and Corliss were among the rescue teams who searched through the rubble at ground zero after the World Trade Center collapsed in New York City in 2001. The mission was the dog’s first deployment. She was two years old at the time and was a certified FEMA Search and Rescue dog. The pair stayed at the Big Apple site for ten days.
“She has always taken her job as a search dog seriously, but herself not so much. Always ready for a belly rub, or a treat,” an anonymous source told the press. “In remembering her first deployment at the World Trade Center … even then, she knew who needed the comfort of a dog, which firefighter needed to hold her close and stroke her fur.”
According to Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, Bretagne went on to help with rescue efforts during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, along with other natural disasters in the following years.
After retiring from search and rescue, the faithful pooch became a therapy dog who worked with children with disabilities.
“Each week she would visit a first-grade classroom and listen to young readers, providing a non-judgmental ear and soft paw,” the Houston Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department wrote in a statement. “She also visited students with special needs, such as autism. Her calm demeanor and warm heart helped the young and old through their own difficult moments.”
During the past two years, she visited the September 11 memorial and celebrated her birthday in New York City where she was treated with gifts and praise.
— Boston.com (@BostonDotCom) June 7, 2016
On Monday, firefighters and fellow search and rescue workers saluted Bretagne outside her veterinarian’s office and was given a “hero’s farewell” according to CNN. After her passing, she was carried out of the facility draped in an American flag.
Photo Credit: Facebook (John Tesh)