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Remembering 9/11: Search and Rescue Dogs

Remembering the Canine Heroes of

September 11, 2001

                For many of us, the events of 9/11/01 evoke sadness for those thousands of lives lost that day, but also a sense of patriotism and pride as we truly were a nation united in the wake of disaster.  And while people pulled together in extraordinary ways at the World Trade Center, there were also an estimated 300 search and rescue dogs deployed to the site.  These dogs were used initially to search for survivors and later to search for human remains at Ground Zero.

                The 9/11 Memorial and Museum website states, “The last living person rescued from Ground Zero 27 hours after the collapse was found by one of these search and rescue dogs.”1 The dogs worked long 12 hour shifts alongside their handlers to rescue, recover and provide support to victims and first responders.  The dogs needed veterinary care for injuries and burns sustained working in the wreckage and needed to have their paw pads, eyes and noses cleaned often.  Cynthia Otto of the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine was one of those veterinarians who provided expertise and support.  Dr. Otto was inspired to found the Penn Vet Working Dog Center which opened September 11, 2012.  The center focuses on researching genetic, behavioral and physical data pertaining to search and rescue dogs as well as programs for breeding and training detection dogs “to benefit society throughout the US and around the world.”2

                While the last surviving dog who served at Ground Zero died in 2016, the efforts of these remarkable canines will be forever remembered and the importance of continuing to breed and train canine search, rescue and recovery dogs is clear.  While the world hopes to never see another tragedy like 9/11, we know our canine companions will be always at our sides in times of need.

                This blog brought to you by the Patton Veterinary Hospital serving Red Lion, York and the surrounding communities.




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