Bretagne, the last known surviving search and rescue dog who worked in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has passed away aged 16. But for the Golden Retriever, her response to this disaster was just the start of her incredible career.
Bretagne lived with her handler, volunteer firefighter Denise Corliss, her whole life, and as a pair they worked with Texas Task Force 1. As the first responders in the wake of disasters, together they waded through the rubble following hurricanes, even working in the days and weeks after the infamous Hurricane Katrina.
At the age of nine, Bretagne retired from active service, although her passion for working did not abate. She aided the next generation of search dogs with their training, and was involved in a children's reading program at her local school.
But over the last few days, Bretagne gave signs to Denise that she was ready to move on. She stopped eating and was suffering from kidney failure, so the decision was made to put her to sleep at Fairfield Animal Hospital, in Cypress, Texas. In tribute to Bretagne's incredible life, she was saluted by members Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department as she walked towards the clinic. An American flag was then draped over her body as she left later on. Denise was by her side the entire time.
“Some may say that the most a dog could be is a pet, however, to the over 400 members of the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department, Bretagne was a civil servant, a hero and is family,” a spokesperson said.
“We will remember her fondly and continue serving the community with her as inspiration.”
Featured image via Texas Task Force 1.