9/11 Rescue Dogs Commemorated with Bronze Memorial

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It’s important not only to commemorate  the rescue workers but also the unsung four-footed heroes that need their due praise. At the Essex County Eagle Rock September 11 Memorial in West Orange, a new Search and Rescue Dog statue of a Golden Retriever was unveiled.

The statue is made of bronze and sis on a 12-inch block of granite. It weighs close to 5000 pounds. Jay Warren, designer of other commemorative statues such as one for Rosa Parks, was commissioned to create the statue and paid with corporate donations for the project.

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The question you may be asking is why is the statue of a Golden Retriever? The statue honors the last living rescue dog named Bretagne (pronounced Brittany). At the age of 2, 9/11 was her first job. She was also involved in a veterinarian study of the rescue dogs.

Bretagne was a finalist in the American Hero Dog Contest in 2014. In her career, she had participated in several hurricane disorders and later in life, she loved visiting elementary schools to let kids read to her.

Roselle, a Yellow Labrador and guide dog for the blind, won the Hero Dog Award in 2011 for her efforts in 9/11. Her owner was working in the World Trade Center building when the plane crashed into the building. Roselle helped her owner by guiding him down the over 1400 stairs to get to safety.

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Although many of the rescue dogs that participated in the 9/11 rescue attempts are no doubt long gone, their memory will live on with this statue and in our hearts.

Some Facts About 9/11 Rescue Dogs

  • Search dogs made their way through metal and debris at Ground Zero, sometimes being sent into areas where rescue workers could not go.
  • These rescue dogs were Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and some mixed breeds
  • How many dogs helped out in the 9/11 efforts? One estimate was 900 back in 2011.
  • The rescue dogs worked daily for 10 days on average with 8 to 10 hour shifts, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes break.
  • Their jobs were finding trapped humans underneath the rubble and offering comfort to victims as well as rescue workers.
  • The toxic dust irritated the dog’s pads, according to veterinarians involved in the tragic event. The toxic smoke irritated the dog’s lungs.
  • The 9/11 rescue dogs did not have higher rates of cancer compared to rescue dogs that weren’t involved in 9/11.