HOUSTON — Bretagne, the last known 9/11 search and rescue dog made her final walk into the vet’s office surrounded by her friends and family. It was a true hero send-off.
The 16-year-old Golden Retriever was the last of almost 300 dogs who spent that terrible month digging through rubble and twisted beams.
Bretagne’s owner, K9 Search Specialist Denise Corliss, had been with Bretagne since she was a puppy and the two were together until the very end. She began to suffer from kidney failure and had stopped eating. Corliss knew the time had come.
On her final day, Corliss and her husband walked Bretagne up the sidewalk to the veterinary hospital. Representatives from Texas Task Force 1 and the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department lined the way as they saluted her and her hard work. Her body was then draped with the American flag.
“This was a very small way for us to pay tribute to a dog who truly has been a hero,” Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department Captain David Padovan told TODAY. “Just because she’s a K9 doesn’t make her any less part of our department than any other member.”
Bretagne lived a full life in her 9 years of search and rescue. Post-9/11 she and Corliss were deployed to help those during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. After she retired she continued to work as a volunteer reading assistance dog for young children at Roberts Road Elementary School in Waller ISD.
Bretagne will always be remembered for her heroic feats and will be missed as a member of the Cy-Fair family.
“Please remember the valiant effort and dedication to finding a victim trapped in a destroyed building that Bretagne showed us on a regular basis. She will be missed,” Texas Task Force 1 wrote on their Facebook page.
“Strength and peace to her handler Denise Corliss.”