The Furry Heroes of September 11, 2001

Heroes comes in all shapes and sizes. As kids we watch cartoons where the heroes have capes and can fly. Some of them are aliens from another planet, others are regular humans who need to right a wrong, and some are animated animals who save the world from some impending evil.

This past weekend we remembered the events of September 11th, and remembered where we were, and how we felt or still feel. We also should remember the dogs who helped save lives, found lost relatives so families could have closure, and provided comfort to those who needed it. More than 300 dogs were deployed to do Search and Rescue at the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

Here are a some of the canine heroes of September 11th:

Sirius was a bomb sniffing dog who worked at the World Trade Center with the NY/NJ Port Authority and died when the towers fell. When his owner and partner, Officer Lim, heard the sound of an explosion in the building, he thought it was a bomb. Lim left Sirius in his kennel in the office as he went to investigate what had happened. He told Sirius, “I’ll be back to get you.”

At the time, the safest place for Sirius was in his kennel. No one expected the towers to collapse. Officer Lim wasn’t able to get back down to the office because he was one of the many who had become trapped in the rubble of Tower 2 as it fell. On January 22, 2002 Sirius’ body was recovered along with his kennel and water bowl. His body was carried out wrapped in the American flag and all the big machines were turned off to offer a moment of silence and honor him. Everyone lined up and saluted the fallen canine hero.

Roselle was a guide dog who went to work everyday on the 78th floor of the Tower 1 with her human companion, Michael Hingson. Roselle helped her owner navigate the stairwell down from the 78th floor. Along the way they passed firefighters who asked if Michael needed help. He said he was ok because Roselle was leading the way down to safety. Roselle and Michael made it and their story will soon be a book due to come out sometime next year.

Dorado is another guide dog who was on the 71st floor of Tower 1. Dorado had become separated from his owner, Omar Rivera but came back and stayed by his side to guide him out of the building. Omar had unleashed Dorado and hoped his dog would make it out of the building safely even though he had figured he would not.

Omar told Dorado to go and he did but within a few minutes he was back at Omar’s side. Together the two of them made their way down the stairs and out of the building before it collapsed.

Trakr is one of the many search and rescue dogs who worked down at the World Trade Center in 2001. Trakr discovered the last survivor of the attacks on September 12th, Genelle Guzman, the last of the 20 survivors who were trapped in the rubble. In 2005, Trakr and his owner, James Symington, were awarded an “Extraordinary Service to Humantity Award” for their heroism.

Lucy and her Search and Rescue partner/owner, Lynne Engelbert, worked 12 to 15 hours looking for survivors. They searched the rubble of the Marriot Hotel which connected the Twin Towers. Many people passed through the lobby of the hotel to get to either tower. Lucy worked tirelessly and located numerous remains bringing closure of families. Lucy had also found the remains of a firefighter, one of the many who were lost that day.

Photo of Lucy searching the rubble of the Marriot Hotel, courtesy of


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