There are likely just a handful events in any person's life where they can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they got the news. On a personal level, people can vividly recall, even after decades have passed, the exact moment when they got engaged and the birth of their children. But, on a grand scale, there are events that tie many of us together by the impact that they make on us all. For people who are old enough to remember, the assassination of President Kennedy or Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon might be moments when time stood still.
But, what about more recent history? For most Americans over the age of 20 (as well as people around the world), September 11th is an entirely unforgettable day. The news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center had people around the country, at home, at work, and in school, immediately turning on the news. Disbelief turned into sheer horror as many watched the second plane hit, live on TV. The aftermath, captured in vivid detail by the many 24-hour news channels, was one of absolute destruction.
As most people sat in utterly uncomprehending shock, first responders sprung into action - including Bretagne.
That day, and for many days after, firefighters, emergency service crews, police officers, construction workers, and search dogs like Bretagne worked tirelessly to save lives and search through the wreckage.
Denise Corliss, Bretagne's handler, was sent to the site with the pup as part of a FEMA Search and Rescue team. Bretagne was just two years old, but she had been training for this since she was eight weeks old.
After the 10 days she spent at the World Trade Center, Bretagne continued working with the Texas Task Force 1, aiding emergency responders during other disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ivan.
After over eight years as a search and rescue dog, Bretagne retired, but continued working as a goodwill ambassador.
Bretagne made her mark in schools, visiting children in their classrooms as part of a reading assistance program. She also worked with the local fire department in Cypress, Texas.
All the people who worked near Bretagne described her as "affectionate to everybody and fiercely devoted." That dedication to whatever task was at hand earned her love and respect, even from presidents.
During her life, Bretagne was invited to meet both the 41st and the 43rd Presidents of The United States, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
A teammate of Bretagne said, "If you ask anybody who knew or trained with Bretagne, they would tell you 'Oh she just loves me!' That's the kind of dog she is ... Always ready for a belly rub, or a treat." She definitely made an impact on those around her.
That widespread love, along with her status as the last known surviving rescue dog from 9/11, meant people were happy to make Bretagne's life as happy as she made theirs.
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