On Sept. 11, 2001, amidst the darkness, emerged many human heroes. But there were also non-human heroes who stepped up that day and in the days and weeks to come. Bretagne was one of them.
FOX News (h/t Larry A) The last known living search dog who helped recover victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks died in a Houston suburb at age 16. A statement from the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service says Bretagne (pronounced like Brittany), a Golden Retriever, was euthanized at a veterinary clinic in Cypress, due to health complications from her advanced age.
The Houston Chronicle reported that around two dozen firefighters lined the sidewalk as Bretagne was brought into the veterinarian’s office Monday. An American flag was draped over the dog’s body as it was carried out.
Bretagne was 2 years old when she and her handler, Denise Corliss, were part of the Texas Task Force 1 sent to the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan after two hijacked airlines brought down the Twin Towers. They spent 10 days at the scene searching rubble for human remains.
Bretagne had lived with Corliss, a volunteer Cy-Fair firefighter, for her entire life. Bretagne retired from active duty at age 9. After her retirement age 10, Bretagne aided other search dogs in training.
To celebrate the dog’s 16th birthday this past September, Corliss took her to New York, where the pair visited the 9/11 memorial.
KLFY Bretagne was then taken to see a personalized billboard in Times Square displaying a happy birthday message. She even received the doggie “Key to the City” presented by Hudson River Parks. And it didn’t stop there.
At the end of the adventure, her former teammates on search and rescue organization Texas Task Force 1 greeted Bretagne with a surprise party. Her happiness was evident by her big smile and when she went over to her pile of gifts and grabbed the bag of treats that were presumably for her.
Bretagne not only served at Ground Zero, but she also helped with search and rescue in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. At 16 years old, she is now retired. Bretagne spends her days volunteering at school programs that help children learn to read.