I received a wonderful email today about a dog named Daisy who performed heroic feats of bravery, leading hundreds of World Trade Center victims to safety on the fateful morning of 9/11. So, I decided to write an article about this wonderful, brave canine hero. Upon doing research, I quickly found out it simply wasn’t true.
The story indicated that James Crane, a blind worker at Tower 1, was led to safety by his golden retriever, Daisy. But, there are only 110 floors in the Tower. Supposedly, an article was written in the NY Times on Sept. 19, 2001 – but no such article ever existed. Unfortunately, the entire story is a fabrication, although wonderful, in its own way. Here, then is an article about some canine rescues that did happen on that unforgettable day.
Roselle, a yellow Labrador Guide dog owned by Michael Hingson, was sleeping peacefully under his owner’s desk on the 78th floor of the WTC when the building was hit by a plane under control of the 9/11 terrorists. The well-trained Roselle, led Michael through the noisy, smoky chaotic office to the stairs to begin the long walk to the ground floor. Upon reaching the ground level, Roselle continued to walk away from the building. About two blocks away, Tower 2 started to collapse and Roselle and Michael ran in order to escape the ash and falling debris. Roselle managed to get Michael safely to the home of a friend living in Manhattan. Once the trains began running later that afternoon, they both wearily returned to their home in New Jersey.
Omar Eduardo Rivera was on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center north tower when the hijacked airliner struck the building 25 floors above him. Mr. Rivera, a blind computer technician was in his office with his Labrador Retreiver guide dog “Dorado” lying under the desk at the time.
Mr. Rivera described how he unleashed his faithful friend and commanded him to go, so that the dog might escape. However, amid heat, flying glass, chaos and the crowds of fleeing people, Dorado stayed by the man’s side and guided him and a co-worker to safety. Shortly, and after more than an hour descending 70 flights of stairs and leaving the building, the tower collapsed. Fortunately, by then, Dorado and the two workers were a few blocks away.
These are the only two documented canine rescues at the World Trade Center. There seems to be no official accounts of any canine rescues at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
Almost 300 dogs were brought to NYC to help in the search and rescue at ground zero. Most were volunteers and were accompanied to New York by their handlers. Rescue dogs are specially trained to detect traces of sweat and other musky odors exuded by the body during stress. They are also able to distinguish between the living and the dead. Canine Search and Rescue dogs come in many forms and various levels of training. There are avalanche dogs, wilderness search dogs, water rescue, disaster or USAR.
These specially trained dogs climbed and searched places considered too dangerous for humans. They worked around the clock at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the days and weeks following the terrorist attacks.
A dedicated canine medical camp was set up at the site of the World Trade Center to treat injuries and exhaustion many of the dogs suffered. Canine ambulances were also provided. Fundraisers were held around the country when word got out that the dogs’ paws were getting sore and painful from the hard work. With the funds raised, booties were provided for the dogs.
Dogs, especially those trained to people still alive, feel increased stress and depression when they cannot locate any survivors. It has become a common morale-booster for rescuers to stage mock “finds”, so that the dogs can feel successful and happy.
A rescue dog named “Worf” located the bodies of two missing firefighters on the first day. Overwhelmed, he lay down and curled up on the spot. He began shedding profusely, stopped eating and refused to play with other dogs or people. His partner Mike Owens decided to retire the 12-year-old German Shepherd from search-and-rescue duty permanently. Worf went home to Monroe, Ohio. (Source: Cincinati Enquirer)
In addition to providing workers direction for finding bodies the canine companions helped fill an emotional void for the workers at ground zero. Workers mentioned how therapeutic it was to have the dogs there.
Dogsinthenews.com, SARdog.org, AP, Cincinati Enquirer