The final remaining search dog who sniffed for Ground Zero survivors following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has died, officials said.
Bretagne (pronounced Brit-nee), 16-year-old female golden retriever, was euthanized on Monday at a veterinary hospital in Texas, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service said in a statement.
— StephanieLeigh (@stephleigh44) June 7, 2016
“The members of TX-TF1 stand in solidarity as we say goodbye to one of our canine teammates. 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. Strength and peace to her handler Denise Corliss,” the statement read.
Denise Corliss, the dog’s owner, who is a volunteer firefighter herself, said she is “distraught” over Bretagne’s death, Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Padovan told the New York Daily News.
“She had lived longer and accomplished more than anybody,” Padovan told the paper.
Rest in peace, noble Bretagne—our last living 9/11 search-and-rescue dog.
— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) June 7, 2016
Bretagne’s body was draped in an American flag and taken to Texas A&M, where vets will perform a necropsy to study the effects that Ground Zero had on her body.
“She was one of a kind,” Padovan added. “She was always eager to do searchers, even after she ‘retired.’ “
When she was 2, Bretagne joined 300 search dogs as part of the first wave of first responders at the 9/11 site.
Photos from the aftermath of the attack show Bretagne cozying up to Corliss while surveying the rubble.
Bretagne celebrated her 16th birthday in New York City in 2015.
Bretagne is also credited with doing searches and surveys following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans.