A courageous golden retriever named Bretagne, the last living dog among the first responders after the 9/11 attack, was invited to celebrate a hero-worthy 16th birthday in New York this past weekend.
As a rescue dog, Bretagne was responsible for finding survivors in the debris in the aftermath of the attack. Her handler, Denise Corliss, said:
“Responding to the World Trade Center was our first deployment. We were there to try to find survivors. When our task force arrived in ground zero, I just couldn’t believe the magnitude of it. Then I looked down to her and she seemed stoked and ready to work.”
Bretagne’s special weekend was filled with birthday dog treats, gourmet doggie burgers, a key to the dog park, and even a surprise birthday party. Corliss shed a few happy tears throughout the weekend and shared:
“Bretagne and I have a really strong bond. A lot of dog handlers say you get that one dog, and I’ve had several K9 partners, but Bretagne is that one dog for me.”
Both Bretagne and Corliss were members of Texas Task force 1.
Bretagne was presented with the doggy equivalent of the key to the city by Friends of Hudson Park.
A cobblestone in 9/11 Memorial Plaza was dedicated to the two for their service.
As a rescue dog, Bretagne also played the role of a therapy dog. She comforted and supported distressed rescue workers at ground zero.
Bretagne, who retired in 2008, was thanked by New Yorkers everywhere she went during her birthday weekend.
The host of the birthday celebration, 1 Hotel Central, donated $1,000 to Texas Task Force 1 to help train first responder dogs like Bretagne.
“She is a 16-year-old now, but when you are around water with her, she acts like a young puppy,” Corliss said.