“Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love.”
— “Where Were You” by Alan Jackson
On this anniversary of such a hopelessly sad and tragic event in our country’s history, we remember.
We remember the horrific scenes, we remember the black plumes of smoke, we remember the destruction, we remember the terrified faces, we remember the first responders who selflessly sacrificed to try and save others, we remember the victims, we remember the tears, and we think back to the sadness, fear and uncertainty we all felt in our hearts.
The 9/11 attacks shook each and every one of us in different ways. But from the horror also emerged symbols of hope, lights in the darkness.
This is where I introduce you to Bretagne. This senior Golden Retriever with a sunny personality from Texas is the last known living search and rescue dog who worked at Ground Zero.
She and her owner, Denise Corliss, are with Texas Task Force 1, an urban search and rescue group called to the sites of disasters.
Corliss says the World Trade Center was her and Bretagne’s very first deployment together. For Denise, the scene was unimaginable, but it was her furry best friend who kept her going.
“We were there to try and find survivors, and when our task force arrived in Ground Zero, I just couldn’t believe the magnitude of it. And then I looked down to her and she seemed stoic and ready to work,” Denise says.
As time went by, and rescue turned to recovery, Bretagne also became something of a therapy dog to workers at the scene. Her furry strength providing hope and courage amid indescribable tragedy.
Recently, Bretagne turned 16. To celebrate, she and her family took a trip back to New York City.
Years after her service to people of the Big Apple and beyond, Bretagne was given a hero’s welcome. A stay in a luxury hotel, a billboard in Times Square, the dog “bone” to Hudson River Park and a birthday party with endless gifts, treats and a doggy cake!
A cobblestone has also been dedicated to her and Denise at the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero.
It was truly a special day for a dog who provided light to so many on some of the darkest days in America’s history.
In the face of tremendous sadness and despair in those days following the attacks, Bretagne embodied the good, the unconditional love in our hearts. Comforting the crews as they searched the twisted metal and steel. A warm heart and furry strength to lean on.
A true angel sent to those doing work no one should ever have to do.
She kept them going, and in so, kept hope and love alive for us all.