Bretagne, believed to be the last search-and-rescue dog that worked at Ground Zero on 9/11, recently had an epic Sweet 16 birthday celebration in New York City, BarkPost reported.
Bretagne and her owner, Denise Corliss, were part of Texas Task Force 1. They were deployed to New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, and worked with scores of other search and rescue teams to find people trapped beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center.
The golden retriever first performed search and rescue missions, but then, when it was too late to rescue anyone else, she accompanied Corliss to recovery missions. Finally, when the terrible day was over, Bretagne acted as a therapy dog for those affected by the horrible tragedies.
Bretagne and her family were flown to New York from Texas on Aug. 22 to celebrate her birthday, which is actually on Aug. 25, Laura Hartle, creative producer for BarkPost Video, told USA Today.
“Bretagne’s story really hit home for BarkPost since we are based in New York. To be able to have the chance to thank one of the dogs who helped our city when we needed it most was an unforgettable experience,” Hartle said.
During her day-long celebration, Bretagne, who retired in 2008, had tons of doggie surprises in store for her, including a gourmet cheeseburger, the key to the Hudson River dog park, plenty of toys to play with, and an adventure through the city in a vintage taxi during her all-expenses-paid trip.
“She is a 16-year-old now, but when you are around water with her, she acts like a young puppy,” said Corliss. 1 Hotel Central Park, which hosted the party, also donated $1,000 to Texas Task Force 1, which trains K-9 first responder dogs like Bretagne.
BarkPost uploaded a video of the epic birthday bash on YouTube on Sept. 9. As of Friday, the video had over 300,000 views.
Bretagne was part of nearly 100 search and rescue dogs that worked in recovery and rescue following the terror attacks.
Corliss told WABC-TV that despite the chaos of 9/11, Bretagne stayed alert and focused.
“When our task force arrived in Ground Zero, I just couldn’t believe the magnitude,” Corliss told WABC. “And I looked down at her, and she seemed stoic and ready to work.”
“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,” said her handler, Denise Corliss, at the end of the touching video.