Bretagne, the last surviving 9/11 rescue dog sadly passed away at the age of 16. She was just one-year-old when she was deployed to Ground Zero with members of the CY-Fair Volunteer Fire Department’s K9 Search & Rescue Team, from Texas, days after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Bretagne worked 12-hour shifts for two weeks, searching the debris for survivors and the remains of people who had sadly passed away. Alongside her handler, Denise Corliss, she also offered emotional relief to people who were having a hard time coping. On the 14th anniversary of 9/11, Bretagne returned to the site of Ground Zero for the first time to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.
Aside from her amazing work at Ground Zero, Bretagne also helped out after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. She was honored for her bravery and hard-work and won the search and rescue dog category at the 2014 Hero Dog Awards.
She officially retired from active duty in 2010, but never stopped helping others. Until just a few weeks before her death, Bretagne often visited local elementary schools, where she helped children with anxiety and special needs learn to read out loud.
This past year, on her 16th birthday, Bretagne was honored in NYC for all that she has done. BarkPost teamed up with 1 Hotels and various other companies to help give her the best weekend possible which was full of surprise. You can click here to watch her “best day!”
As Bretagne’s health began to decline, Corliss made the heartbreaking decision to end her suffering. Dozens of service members stood in line, saluting the hero, to pay one last farewell to her on her final walk.
“Some may say that the most a dog could be is a pet, however, to the over 400 members of the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department, Bretagne was a civil servant, a hero and is family,” the department wrote in a statement. “We will remember her fondly, and continue serving the community with her as an inspiration.”