Last known 9/11 search dog Bretagne euthanized in Houston area.Firefighters gather as ailing golden retriever is put down.Almost two dozen local firefighters and members of the search dog community honoured Bretagne with a hero’s send-off, lining the entrance to the vet’s office and saluting the old dog as she passed by.After Bretagne was put down, her body was draped with an American flag. She’ll be taken to Texas A&M University, where vets will study possible effects that exposure to Ground Zero had on her body.
Corliss and Bretagne had been training and training, but it seemed like no action was ever coming their way. They had been prepared for hurricane season, but thankfully nothing horrible had happened. That all changed on one clear blue day in September. Her very first rescue mission would be in the aftermath of 9/11.
As the twin towers fell in New York City, Texas Task Force 1 sprang into action. When Corliss first saw the horrific extent of the damage done, she was completely overwhelmed. But Bretagne knew her job and knew her duties. She snapped her human out of her daze and the two began a wild search for any survivors trapped beneath the rubble.
An estimated 300 other search and rescue dogs were there in those horrible days and weeks after 9/11. Everyone hoping that they could find just one more survivor.
But the dogs did more than save lives that day, they saved souls. It’s been reported that the mere presence of these dogs brought smiles to the faces of the firemen, first responders, and rescue workers who had nothing to smile about in those trying times. They helped with the PTSD caused by the events and sights of those attacks, and for that alone we should all be thankful.
After 9/11, Bretagne went on to help in the search and rescue efforts of many other disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ivan.
She eventually retired from the action, but not after helping save lives and making countless friends along the way. She stayed at home with her mom Corliss, and lived a comfortable retirement. For a dog of her size, she was getting to be quite old, but she never stopped smiling and still enjoyed “searching” for things in the house.
But just a few months from her 17th birthday, Bretagne stopped eating and seemed to be failing fast. Her kidneys began to fail, and it became clear to Corliss that it was time to let her best friend go.
Bretagne was a hero in one of our country’s darkest hours, but most importantly she was a friend to her human. Dogs enter our lives and stay for such a short amount of time, but the impact they have on our spirits and hearts shows just how angelic they really are.
Corliss made the decision to take her best friend to the vet for one final time. But when they got there, they saw something that was truly touching.
A group of firefighters were there to honor Bretagne for her service. Like any military funeral, this group of men and women saluted Bretagne in one of the most emotional farewells you could ever see.
Corliss did her best to keep it together, but understandably so, she broke down in tears. She had been with Bretagne since she was a puppy, and they had shared so many experiences together over the years. So to say goodbye to such an old and close friend and family member must have truly felt surreal.
Denise Corliss, we’re sorry for your loss. You and your dog were there to help people in the worst moment of their lives. This is truly the end of an era, and we can only hope that you find peace in spite of Bretagne’s passing. While we’re heartbroken at her passing, we can’t help but feel joy that she got to live such a long and interesting life in a home where she knew she was loved.
Thank you both for your service to our country!
Click and share with your loved ones and fellow animal lovers!