Today We Remember the Heroic Dogs Of The 9/11 Terror Attack

Today marks 17 years since the terror attacks on New York which saw nearly 3,000 people lose their lives when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed after being hit by two separate planes.

After the barbaric attack, nearly 10,000 emergency service workers risked their lives to join the rescue effort as they ran towards the danger.

Among the incredibly brave heroes, were 300 brave dogs - so while we remember the amazing men and women who risked their lives to help, we must also remember the Hero Dogs of 9/11.

Credit: Denise Corliss
Credit: Denise Corliss

While the death toll was still exponentially high, countless people owe their lives to the tireless help of these brave pooches who played a key role in the recovery process following on from the attack.

From search and rescue dogs to comfort dogs to bomb detection dogs, these canines' stories of courage, healing and long-lasting legacy must never be forgotten.

The last living hero dog from 9/11 was Bretagne (pronounced Brit-nee). Sadly, she passed away in 2016, at the grand age of 16.

Credit: Barcroft Media
Credit: Barcroft Media

At the time of the attacks she was a two-year-old bouncing golden retriever working day-to-day with her owner and handler, Denise Corliss.

When the towers fell Bretagne and Denise spent ten day at the site going from rescue to recovery.

Denise, a volunteer firefighter with the Cy-Fair Fire Department, began training Bretagne for search and rescue work at just eight weeks old.

The duo soon became a FEMA-certified canine team that also worked in the rescue missions following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ivan.

Credit: Barcroft Media
Credit: Barcroft Media

Bretagne retired from formal search work at nine, but continued to work as a goodwill ambassador for her local fire department, and as a reading assistance dog at a local schools.

When she passed away, she entered the animal hospital in Cypress, Texas, where firefighters and search and rescue workers from the fire department lined the sidewalk and saluted.

She was carried out later, her body draped in an American flag.

Credit: Barcroft Media
Credit: Barcroft Media

Apollo, the German Shepherd and his handler Peter Davis were called in to assist with rescue operations after the 9/11 terror attacks.

They were the first search and rescue dog team to arrive on the scene - just 15 minutes after the collapse of the towers.

Apollo nearly lost his life on the day as he narrowly missed being engulfed by flames and crushed by falling debris.

Thankfully he survived, only because he was drenched after falling into a pool of water just beforehand.

Credit: Barcroft Media
Credit: Barcroft Media

At the time, is was reported that some of the dogs were starting to suffer from depression because they weren't finding survivors, just bodies.

Specialist vets and their handlers had to work with them to keep their spirits up and remind them that the job they were doing was no less amazing than anyone else.

Sadly, none of the hero dogs of 9/11 are with us anymore, but because of their courageous efforts many people were saved, and their legacy will live on forever.

Featured Image Credit: Barcroft Media

Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Junior Journalist at PRETTY52. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the team in 2017. Contact her on

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