Last known Ground Zero rescue dog returns to NYC

The last known living search-and-rescue dog deployed to Ground Zero returned to New York City this week to celebrate her birthday ahead of the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Bretagne was one of nearly 300 rescue dogs recruited from around the United States to search for survivors beneath the rubble at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and in the field near Shanksville, Penn., following the attacks. For Bretagne and her handler, Denise Corliss — members of Texas Task Force 1, part of FEMA’s national urban search-and-rescue program — Ground Zero was their first deployment. 

From then until her retirement in 2008, Bretagne went on to have an illustrious career as a search-and-rescue dog that included working at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita in 2005. In September 2014, Bretagne was a finalist for the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards. She and Corliss paid a visit to the Sept. 11 memorial, returning to Ground Zero for the first time in 13 years. 

“Seeing this kind of took my breath away a bit, similar to how the pile was the first time I saw it,” Corliss told Today.com about the memorial at the time. “It’s so calm and peaceful now, unlike the chaos before.” 

Today, Bretagne is the last known surviving search-and-rescue dog to have worked in that chaos. To honor her and her upcoming 16th birthday, dog blog BarkPost paired up with the swank 1 Hotel Central Park to give Bretagne and Corliss a New York City weekend they’ll never forget.