About 100 search-and-rescue dogs scoured the twisted steel beams and crumbled concrete of the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, and today, Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”) is the last known living 9/11 search-and-rescue dog. And she just had the best day ever.
To honor Bretagne for her service and celebrate her 16th birthday, BarkPost teamed up with the dog-friendly 1 Hotel Central Park to give the golden retriever a “Dog’s Best Day” that included a full day of treats and activities in New York City.
When Bretagne arrived in New York with her owner and handler Denise Corliss, she was greeted by a personalized billboard in Times Square.
Then she was off to play in the water at Hudson River Park, where she was presented with the doggie version of the Key to the City.
Former search-and-rescue teammates attended Bretagne’s sweet 16 party later that day, where she received a variety of toys and treats — and her very own birthday cake.
Corliss was also presented with a $1,000 donation for Texas Task Force 1, Bretagne’s search-and-rescue team, which is the most active one in the country.
In addition to her recovery work at Ground Zero, Bretagne and Corliss also worked in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, and today, the senior dog serves her community by volunteering at school programs that teach children to read.
Corliss adopted Bretagne as an 8-week-old puppy in 1999, and after undergoing rigorous training, the two joined Texas Task Force 1. Their first deployment was to Ground Zero, where a search for survivors quickly turned into a search for human remains.
For two weeks, the golden retriever tirelessly worked 12-hour shifts at the former site of the World Trade Center, and one day, Bretagne walked away from Corliss, ignoring commands to come back. The 2-year-old dog made her way to a firefighter sitting on the ground, laid next to him and put her head in his lap.
“When we deploy to some of the disasters, what I didn’t anticipate is the role that they take on as a therapy dog,” Corliss told BarkPost. “It provides an opportunity for people to have support from the dog and comfort from the dog in a real difficult environment.”
Watch Bretagne enjoy her best day in the video below.