After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Bretagne, a two-year-old golden retriever, was among the dogs rushed to New York from across the country to help in the rescue and recovery. On Monday, the now 16-year-old was given a hero’s farewell as she walked into a Houston-area veterinary clinic for the last time.
Bretagne was euthanized Monday amid declining health, including kidney failure.
Bretagne (pronounced Brit-nee) was two years old at the time of the attacks. She and Denise Corliss, her owner and handler, worked at Ground Zero for 10 days as their mission went from rescue to recovery. Here’s how a teammate remembered her:
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. In remembering her first deployment at the World Trade Center, there are images of her going to where she was directed to search, the unknown, the chaotic environment. But even then, she knew who needed the comfort of a dog, which firefighter needed to hold her close and stroke her fur.
Corliss, a volunteer firefighter with the Cy-Fair Fire Department, was looking for a dog to train for disaster work. Enter Bretagne, who at the time was eight weeks old. The duo soon became a FEMA-certified canine team that also worked in the rescue missions during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ivan.