As a way to pay homage to the search and rescue dogs of 9/11, Explore.org, Dog Bless You, and the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation have produced a new short film that profiles Abby, the last surviving Foundation-trained search-and-rescue dog at Ground Zero. (As readers have pointed out, there are still several other dogs who performed the same duties back then.) It’s so touching to see the once-spry dog hobbling through her agility tube. I love owner and handler Debra Tosch’s description of how the dogs didn’t realize they were being heroes. They were just having fun doing the job they knew made people happy.
After 9/11, Abby and Debra â€” now executive director of the Search Dog Foundation â€” were deployed to a number of disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and the La Conchita mudslide. Abby, one of the nations most highly skilled search dogs, helped train many SDF Canine Search Specialists, showing them how its done as they prepared to receive their own rescued-dog-turned-rescuer. (If you are not familiar with this wonderful organization, click on the link in this paragraph to learn more.)
Today Debra and Abby and fifty other SDF Search Teams (including nine of the handlers who deployed to 9/11) will be on hand when the Search Dog Foundation pauses to remember those who perished in the disaster and pay tribute to the firefighters and their extraordinary canine partners who continue to risk their lives to save others. The National Search Dog Foundation will also commemorate the many SDF Search Dogs who have passed over the Rainbow Bridge after years of service to the country.
You may be getting oversaturated with 9/11 coverage today, but if you’re like me, you’ll take a few moments to remember all those who were lost, the brave souls who risked their lives to help others, and of course, the amazing canines who did their very best in the very worst of circumstances.