In September 2001, more than 300 search and rescue dogs were deployed to Ground Zero to search for survivors in the rubble.
The last of those search dogs, Bretagne, a 16 year-old golden retriever from Harris County in Texas was put down on Monday at Fairfield Animal Hospital because of her declining health. She had been experiencing kidney failure and had not eaten for three straight days.
Her owner, Denise Corliss knew it was time to let her go. “She was really anxious last night and she just wanted to be with me,” Corliss told TODAY. “So I laid down with her, right next to her. When she could feel me, she could settle down and go to sleep. I slept with her like that all night.”
Bretagne joined the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department Search and Rescue team in 2000 until her retirement where she then worked as a reading assistance dog in an elementary school. Bretagne also served as a search and rescue dog for numerous natural disasters such as Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Ivan and even Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
People from the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department and other agencies came to give Bretagne her final send off as they saluted her entered the veterinarians office. Her body was draped over the American flag as she left the office.
“This was a very small way for us to pay tribute to a dog who truly has been a hero,” Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department Captain David Padovan told TODAY.
Bretagne’s body will be brought to Texas A&M University to undergo an autopsy and then will be laid to rest in the Houston area.
In 2014, Bretagne was honored by the American Humane Association as a finalist for their annual hero dog awards.