Last Surviving 9/11 Rescue Dog Put to Sleep with Farewell Salute

Bretagne was believed to be the last surviving rescue dog deployed at Ground Zero in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

2 min read

 K9 Search Specialist Denise Corliss and her search dog Bretagne in Houston, Texas. Bretagne in a photo from September 2011. (Photo: AP)

Bretagne was a 16-year-old golden retriever who was deployed at Ground Zero as a rescue dog in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US. She was also believed to be the last surviving dog of the rescue teams that had searched for survivors in the rubble of the demolished Twin Towers in 2001.

On Monday, Bretagne was euthanised at a Houston veterinarian’s office.


About two-dozen first responders lined the sidewalk leading to the veterinarian’s office and saluted Bretagne as she walked by for the final time Monday, The Houston Chronicle reported. An American flag was draped over her body as she was carried out of the facility.


Bretagne was 2 years old when she and her handler, Denise Corliss, were part of the Texas Task Force 1 sent to the World Trade Center site on 11 September 2001. They spent 10 days at the scene searching debris for human remains.

Six years after retiring from active duty at age 9, Bretagne was taken by Corliss to the 9/11 memorial where she participated in an interview with Tom Brokaw of NBC News.

Corliss told NBC’s Today that in recent weeks, Bretagne began experiencing kidney failure and slowing down.

Bretagne was nominated for a Hero Dog Award from the American Humane Association in 2014. An online biography posted by the organisation says that Bretagne served as an ambassador for search and rescue dogs in retirement, often visiting elementary schools.

Bretagne and Corliss met with former President George HW Bush at his presidential library late last year.

A post on the Texas Task Force 1 Facebook page paid tribute to “the valiant effort and dedication to finding a victim trapped in a destroyed building that Bretagne showed us on a regular basis.”

(With agency inputs.)

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