Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saluting Service Dogs

The 10th anniversaray of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists attacks approaches us. Most of us know where we were on that day, at that hour and we won't forget the sights, scenes, smells and stories that came from that awful day. Neither will those who handled search and rescue dogs at the scenes in New York City and the Pentagon.

Search and rescue teams from around the country converged on the site of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon within days of the attacks. In all, nearly 400 dogs were used to search for survivors and victims. Still today, search dogs and their handlers look for and find victims of hurricanes, mud slides, earthquakes and other disasters as well as hikers lost in the wilderness or skiers overtaken by an avalanche.

Here are the names of some of the heroic canines of September 11, 2001:
Roselle - Yellow lab who guided her blind owner safely from the falling Twin Towers
Abby – a black lab from California
Guinness – a yellow lab from California
Red – a black lab from Maryland
Bailey – a black lab from Tennessee
Tara – a black lab from Massachusetts
Bretagne – a golden from Texas
Jake – black lab from Utah
Ricky – rat terrier from Washington
Jenner – black lab from Colorado
Many of these dogs served during Hurricane Katrina and have conducted other rescues as well. They devoted their lives in service to people.

Dogs are a tremendous gift to humans. In addition to search and rescue, dogs are often used as therapy, visiting nursing homes, schools, libraries and hospitals. A program called America’s VetDogs provides therapy dogs to our nation’s wounded warriors recovering in military hospitals. Known as military therapy dogs, these comforting creatures provide mental, emotional and physical well-being to our wounded soldiers “Getting out and walking the dog is huge therapy,” says one doctor. Another part of the program is to provide guide and other service dogs to soldiers who have been blinded or confined to wheelchairs. The program matches dogs with soldiers. To learn more, visit

The last full week of September is known as National Dog Week. May we pay proper honor to the dog heroes of our day, from the 9-11 service dog, to the dogs used in pet therapy, to the K-9 dog keeping our community safe, to the special four-footed friend lying at our feet.

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