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Editorial

Casper Critters


A Salute to Service Dogs



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11/01/2011 - By Gayle M. Irwin

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America, a horrific event that took more than 3,000 American lives. Most of us will never forget the sights, scenes, smells and stories that came from that awful day. Neither will those who handled search and rescue dogs at the devastation in New York City and the Pentagon.

Search and rescue teams from around the country converged on the site of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon within days of the attacks. In all, nearly 400 dogs were used to search for survivors and victims. Still today, search dogs and their handlers look for and find victims of hurricanes, mud slides, earthquakes and other disasters as well as hikers lost in the wilderness or skiers overtaken by an avalanche.

Last month the New York Times Magazine published a short story with photos about some of the 9-11 search and rescue dogs. Here are the names of some of the heroic canines of September 11, 2001:

Roselle - Yellow lab who guided her blind owner safely from the falling Twin Towers

Moxie a yellow lab from Massachusetts

Orion a golden retriever from California

Abby a black lab from California

Guinness a yellow lab from California

Red a black lab from Maryland

Bailey a black lab from Tennessee

Tara a black lab from Massachusetts

Bretagne a golden from Texas

Jake black lab from Utah

Gus golden lab from Tennessee

Ricky rat terrier from Washington

Jenner black lab from Colorado

Many of these dogs served in rescues during Hurricane Katrina as well. View photos of some of the wonderful animals at this website: httpHYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" ://HYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" wwwHYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" .HYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" nytimesHYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" .HYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" comHYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" /HYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" interactiveHYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" /2011/08/14/HYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" magazineHYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" /14HYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" MagHYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" -HYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" rescueHYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" -HYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" dogsHYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" .HYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" htmlHYPERLINK "http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/08/14/magazine/14Mag-rescue-dogs.html" \l "" #1

"The over-riding attribute of a great search dog is courage," Jenner's owner Ann Wickman, is quoted as once saying. A special book saluting the dogs of September 11, 2001 titled Dog Heroes of September 11, is available. Learn more at httpHYPERLINK "http://www.dogheroesof911.com/web.htm" ://HYPERLINK "http://www.dogheroesof911.com/web.htm" wwwHYPERLINK "http://www.dogheroesof911.com/web.htm" .HYPERLINK "http://www.dogheroesof911.com/web.htm" dogheroesofHYPERLINK "http://www.dogheroesof911.com/web.htm" 911.HYPERLINK "http://www.dogheroesof911.com/web.htm" comHYPERLINK "http://www.dogheroesof911.com/web.htm" /HYPERLINK "http://www.dogheroesof911.com/web.htm" webHYPERLINK "http://www.dogheroesof911.com/web.htm" .HYPERLINK "http://www.dogheroesof911.com/web.htm" htm.

In addition to rescue, dogs are also used as therapy, visiting nursing homes, schools, libraries and hospitals. A program called America's Vet Dogs provides therapy dogs to our nation's wounded warriors recovering in military hospitals. Known as military therapy dogs, these comforting creatures provide mental, emotional and physical well-being to wounded soldiers. "Getting out and walking the dog is huge therapy," says one doctor. Another part of the program is to provide guide and other service dogs to soldiers who have been blinded or confined to wheelchairs. The program matches dogs with soldiers. To learn more about the America's VetDogs, visit httpHYPERLINK "http://www.vetdogs.org/" ://HYPERLINK "http://www.vetdogs.org/" wwwHYPERLINK "http://www.vetdogs.org/" .HYPERLINK "http://www.vetdogs.org/" vetdogsHYPERLINK "http://www.vetdogs.org/" .HYPERLINK "http://www.vetdogs.org/" orgHYPERLINK "http://www.vetdogs.org/" /

Dogs serve people in a variety of ways: herding and protecting flocks, finding fowl in the field, guiding the blind, assisting deaf and wheel-chair bound individuals, rescuing lost people, and bringing smiles to those in hospital beds. Most serve without hesitation and many give the ultimate sacrifice. As we remember 9-11 and our military service men and women this month, let us not forget the loyalty and service of many special canines around the country as well.

The last full week of September is known as National Dog Week. May we pay proper honor to the dog heroes of our day, from the 9-11 service dog, to the dogs used in pet therapy, to the K-9 dog keeping our community safe, to the special four-footed friend lying at our feet.

______________________________________________________________________________

Gayle M. Irwin is the author of Sage's Big Adventure and Sage Learns to Share, stories about her blind Springer Spaniel, and a contributing author to two editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She is also a former humane educator. Her new book, Learning to See: Life Lessons Learned from My Blind Dog, is scheduled for publication in Fall 2012. Visit her website at wwwHYPERLINK "http://www.gaylemirwin.com/" .HYPERLINK "http://www.gaylemirwin.com/" gaylemirwinHYPERLINK "http://www.gaylemirwin.com/" .HYPERLINK "http://www.gaylemirwin.com/" com.

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