We recently observed yet another anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, and a previous post by Barbara on 9-11 rescue dogs received a spike of over 200 views.
Barbara knew one of the handlers, and it seems appropriate now, five years later, to re-post her blog.
Lest we forget ~~ THE RESCUE DOGS of 9-11
A rescue dog is transported out of the debris of the World Trade Center, September 15, 2001. (REUTERS/HO/U.S. Navy Photo by Journalist 1st Class Preston Keres)
“The last surviving 9/11 Search & Rescue Dog has died. Porkchop was only one year old when he heroically aided the search at Ground Zero. After the World Trade Center attacks, 13 Search Dog Foundation teams were deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help search for survivors. These teams offered hope in a world that felt somber and hopeless. Over the intervening dozen years, the dogs have passed away from old age. Porkchop was the last.”
I got to meet Erick and Porkchop when I lived in Yosemite in 20002-3.
RIP Splendid hero, all the heroes, the dear departed innocent Americans.
This made me weepy. The look of tragedy in Porkchop’s eyes is almost unbearable.
I think it’s a kind of overwhelm and exhaustion, too, the same their humans felt. Erick said they’d rushed there like so many to rescue, and it turned out to be something very different. There were vets on hand, masseuses for animal and people, and so much love extended, endless abundant caring for precious life. Erick told me a fireman got very angry at him, and Porkchop for a lack of expertise in an arduous search for a fireman in an area they were sure he’d be found. Porkchop fixed on what looked to everyone like nothingness. Erick trusted Porkchop and insisted. The fireman (his frustration understandable) shouted at the “stupid dog”….until they realized the confusing mass of steel and cloth had indeed contained the twisted body of their friend. The emotional toll on the rescuers, and their ability to come through it years later, is heroic in itself. And the dogs were fearless and always ready. Darling Porkchop, yes, what a face, what a look, saying everything.
I managed to get thru the whole day without crying … Until I read this.
I cried through the entire posting, I had to force myself to stop so I understand. I didn’t know until this morning that Porkchop was gone, fabulous doggie, and more about their story another time. But briefly, Erick had just gotten him, started Yosemite EMT, trained Porkchop for search and rescue in Yosemite for its lost hikers, and 9-11 happened. When Erick heard they were in his car headed for NYC in 24 hours, people buying his gas on the way, paying for his meals the minute they knew…what a country united. The handlers were all so worried about the health of the search dogs but none were affected. Erick stopped at Cabella’s along the way. First they said, Sorry mister no dogs allowed. Then he told them his destination, the owner appeared, he GAVE Erick and Porkchop 300 pair of doggy booties for the 9-11 dogs, which they needed badly. God Bless America that today we passed unscathed by hateful savages.