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Canine Heros From 9/11

The Fall

This is what it looked like during the search


I'll Be Back for You

Dorado Leads Down 70 Flights

Dog Returns Home

I Am a Rottweiler.

Rescuing Wuss



I'll Be Back for You

Cop fulfills vow to dog killed in WTC
Friday, January 25, 2002
Staff Writer, Bergen Record

Port Authority Police Officer David Lim's last words to his partner on Sept. 11 were: "You stay there. I'll be back for you."

After four months, Lim can finally say he fulfilled his vow.

Workers at Ground Zero on Tuesday recovered the remains of Sirius, a yellow Labrador retriever believed to be the only canine to die in the attack on the World Trade Center.

"I've been waiting to find him," Lim said Thursday. "I fulfilled my promise to him because I came back and I took him home."

The remains of the bomb-detection dog were found beneath the debris of Tower Two, in the Port Authority's basement kennel. Lim left Sirius there and went to help with the rescue effort, but didn't make it back -- he became trapped himself, in Tower One, and wasn't pulled out until more than five hours later.

Workers immediately called Lim to the scene Tuesday when they found Sirius. They carried out the remains with full honors, complete with a prayer and a salute.

"There was a flag over his bag and I carried him out with another officer, John Martin," Lim said. "Everyone saluted. All the machinery was stopped -- the same thing that is done for human police officers and firefighters. I thought it was very nice."

Lim, who was heralded for his rescue efforts that day, had placed Sirius in the kennel moments after the first plane hit Tower One. Then he rushed to help people down the staircase, shouting, "Down is good."

A 20-year veteran of the towers, Lim had climbed to the 44th floor of Tower One when Tower Two was hit. When he heard the call to evacuate, he made his way to the fifth floor, where he stopped to help carry a woman.

"We got as far as the fourth floor and the building collapses on us," he

said. "It was like an avalanche. We were just waiting there to die."

Lim escaped to the sixth floor -- which eventually became the top of the

rubble. He was finally rescued after 3 p.m. He had suffered a mild concussion, but no serious injuries.

The Port Authority has listed 37 of its police officers as missing or dead as a result of the attack. Lim believes that number should be 38.

Sirius, who was 4 years old, searched commercial vehicles coming into the trade center. He had worked with Lim since March 2000 and helped clear the way for visits by such VIPs as President Bill Clinton, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

"He was my partner," Lim said. "We got really attached to him.

"I still step over the spot where he used to sleep in my room because I forget he's not there."

Doctors would not allow Lim to search at Ground Zero because of the emotional toll it could have taken on him. But he has kept tabs on the rescue effort, checking in periodically to ask whether they had made it to the kennel area.

In the first few months, rescuers had to build a road over it to get to another area. When they found his jacket recently, Lim knew they were getting close.

Lim was training his new dog, a black Lab named Sprig, when he got the call from Ground Zero on Tuesday.

He found consolation in the fact that his partner died instantly. It appeared that the kennel collapsed.

Sirius' remains were cremated at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in Westchester County, N.Y. Lim collected the ashes Thursday and will keep them in an urn at home until April, when he plans to hold a memorial service. He hasn't yet determined where.

"We expect hundreds of [police] dogs to come," he said. "It's going to be very big."

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Dorado Leads Down 70 Flights

New York City resident Omar Eduardo Rivera, a blind computer technician, was at his desk with his guide dog "Dorado" on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center north tower when the hijacked airliner struck the building 25 floors above him. Mr. Rivera heard crashing glass, and smoke began to fill the room.

He unleashed Dorado so the dog could escape, "I hoped he would be able to quickly run down the stairs without me and get to safety. I thought he'd be so scared he'd run. Everything was in chaos. Glass was shattering around my head and people were rushing past down the stairs."

Dorado disappeared into a throng of people, and Mr. Rivera was resigned to die. Then, he felt a familiar fuzzy nose at his knee--Dorado had returned! The faithful friend then guided Mr. Rivera down 70 flights of stairs and out onto the street just before the building collapsed.

"It was then I knew for certain he loved me just as much as I loved him. He was prepared to die in the hope he might save my life."

Wow. That is a serious everyday hero!

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Dog Returns Home

      CHOCTAW, Okla., September 26, 2001 - A 90-pound Rottweiler who searched the World Trade Center debris for seven days without finding any survivors has returned to Oklahoma to rest and relax.

      John Randall said the week in New York temporarily took away the happy attitude of his rescue dog, Gunner.   "It was only after we landed in Oklahoma City and Gunner gave my wife, Teresa, a big licky kiss that I saw him start to smile again," said Randall, who lives in a rural area between Choctaw and Harrah. "The things we saw in New York were really rough." Randall, 48, said three rescue dogs working at the site of the collapsed twin towers had to be put down because of heat stroke.

      Gunner collapsed after seven days from exhaustion and depression, Randall said.

      He and the 7-year-old Rottweiler returned late Monday to Oklahoma City after arriving in New York on Sept. 17. The pair were one of 20 live-scent and cadaver dog teams.

      In seven days, Gunner gave Randall 33 alerts - signals meaning he caught a human scent. Only once did an alert lead to a whole body, Randall said.

      "That was when we found six people who had died of carbon monoxide poisoning all huddled together in one of the shopping concourse areas," Randall said.

      Randall and Gunner worked the evening shift, a choice Randall made to keep Gunner from overheating. The dog soon became depressed, he said. 

      "He could sense the sadness among all the people working around him," said Randall, a disabled veteran who recently retired from Tinker Air Force Base.

      Randall even had firefighters pose as victims in the rubble so Gunner could find someone alive. But that didn't cheer up the dog, he said.

      Veterinarians at ground zero recommended Randall take Gunner home to recover.

      Randall and his dog were trained in Miami and Dade County canine rescue units in Florida and through the California Search and Rescue Dog Association.

Randall first began search-and-rescue work as an Army Ranger looking for downed pilots in Vietnam.

      He and another rescue dog, Baron, searched the site of the blown-out Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building after the April 19, 1995, bombing in Oklahoma City.

      Randall had Gunner at his side during a search of Oklahoma neighborhoods damaged by the May 3, 1999, tornadoes.

      The World Trade Center site is the worst disaster scene of them all, Randall said.

      "It looks like the way they describe hell in the Bible," Randall said. "Except for the rescue workers, there were no signs of anything living - no birds, not even flies."

      Copyright 2001, Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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I Am a Rottweiler.

I was brought into this world by a loving breeder who has spent the  last 30 years in loving dedication to my breed. I was trained by a man  or woman who has been equally dedicated to my breed.

Over the last few years, you have gotten e-mails from people who said  I was vicious, because criminal humans made less than .0001 % of my  breed into criminal dogs. And because human parents never taught their children how to respect and stay away from large animals of any kind.

You wanted my breeder to abandon her love and care of my breed. You wanted her to never make another dog like me. You wanted to keep me in a small pen and make me wear a muzzle. Some of you, wanted us all killed for no reason. I never growled at a human. I never attacked a human. But you said I was a potential danger and I needed to be destroyed. You wanted the same done to my brothers and sisters in the working dog world. You came for the pit bulls, you came for the German Shepherds, you came for the Dobermans, and you came for us, the Rottweilers.

Today I sat at my master's feet in NY.  The master you said was crazy to want a Rottweiler. We cried, but kept on working. You saw the sadness in my eyes. I was bred to work. I was trained to find. I search and I find. My reward is a scratch on the head and maybe a hug from the person I find, but those I find can't scratch my head. I cry. My fellow searchers have lost their lives falling in this rubble.

My feet are cut by glass and metal.  But my trainer and I keep searching. We are looking for your spouses, your children, your parents, your friends, your coworkers and your neighbors.

I am risking the life you wished to deny me. I am doing what NO ONE else can. If I were not here, you would have no where else to turn for help or hope.

When you see my trainer and I sleeping on the sidewalk or climbing over the mountain of rubble, because just one of your human lives is important to me, look into my eyes and remember the sacrifice and work that "dangerous" dogs like me have done for thousands of years and think about a world without me. All I ask is let me live.

Let my breeder continue to make it possible for dogs, like me, to give  our lives for yours. In disasters, in wars, and just protecting your homes and families for thousands of years to come.


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NEW YORK CITY — In the frantic rescue operations at the World Trade Center disaster site, over 300 dogs and their handlers are committed to a mission of rescuing survivors no matter what the cost.  With perils overhead and underfoot, emergency crews have learned to operate on instinct and to rely heavily on each other, as all-too-often, the rescuers themselves need become the rescued.

Last week, brave men and women of the NY Fire Department, the NYPD 13th Precinct, Emergency Medical Teams and the Animal Medical Center on East 62nd Street all converged to save the life of a single downed rescuer: "Servus" the dog.

Servus, a nine-year-old, 70-lb. Belgian Malinois with the unlikely nickname "Wuss", fell 20 feet down face-first into a pocket of jagged rebar, glass and powdered concrete.

There's not a single person at "the pile" who doesn't recognize the immeasurable worth of a search-and-rescue (SAR) dog.  Whenever a new cavity is unearthed beneath the 110 floors of rubble, desperate cries of "Dog over here!  Dog over here!" attest to the fact that rescuers trust nothing less than a canine when it comes to locating survivors.  So it wasn't surprising to see how dozens of rescuers literally dropped everything to rush to the aid of a dying dog.

Wuss and his partner Chris Christensen, a police officer from Illinois, had been searching in a tunnel beneath the World Trade Center complex when they heard three loud bangs of a firefighter's ax against a steel beam.  The signal meant: "Run for your life; another building is about to come down."

But in the narrow enclosure, there was barely enough room to turn around, let alone flee.  "There wasn't much we could do but stay where we were and keep searching," says Officer Christensen.  "I heard the signal three times.  There wasn't much we could do about it."

Something gave way that Thursday morning, and Wuss tumbled to the bottom of a deep pit where he began to go into convulsions.  As Officer Christensen clambered down the hole, he thought that Wuss must've broken a leg, but upon reaching him, he saw that his partner was suffocating.

He describes the nightmare: "I could see debris was lodged in his nose.  I tried to get some out, but I just didn't know what to do.

"He'd inhaled a lot of dust, and he tried to clear it by vomiting, but he couldn't.  His tongue was turning purple.  He looked up at me, and I thought, 'My dog's in trouble—I need help.'

"I shouted up that my dog was dying.  I mean, this dog is my buddy—I wasn't about to let him die down there."

Above, the New York firefighters leaped into action, and within seconds they were on the scene.

"I saw arms reaching down," says Officer Christensen.  "I passed Wuss up the hole.  He was trying to breathe, but he was doubled up."

Rescuers rushed Wuss to a fire truck where they tried to administer oxygen to the dog.  At the same time, Karimah Tarazi, a registered nurse, shaved Wuss's front leg and started an intravenous, but the dog had gone into shock and was shaking uncontrollably.

Officer Christensen continues, "I put the mask over his nose.  Then I put my fingers up his nostrils and started scooping out debris.

"All of a sudden, two people grabbed a stretcher and helped carry my dog down the street.  It was the most impressive thing I've seen."

Firefighters, NY cops and EMTs flagged down a paramedic and carried Wuss's limp body to the ambulance, but the paramedic refused to help.  "Humans only."

"I thought those cops were going to shoot those ambulance drivers," says Officer Christensen.  But instead they loaded Wuss into a police cruiser which, along with three police motorcycle escorts with sirens at full blast, headed for an animal hospital three miles away.

At the hospital on East 62nd Street, Wuss was stabilized, although he had sustained some heavy damage from the ordeal and needed some rest.

Returning to the site, Officer Christensen wanted to continue the search efforts by himself.  He told Wuss to stay in the police cruiser while he went back into the south tower rubble.  But Wuss, eager as ever, jumped out of the car, wagging his tail.

"Get back in the car," the man ordered, but Wuss just wagged his tail harder.

"I couldn't believe it.  I told him three times, and he just looked at me...  He just sat there.  Tears came to my eyes."

The duo went back to searching for about 16 hours into the next day.  On Friday night, Wuss inhaled a dangerous amount of debris and started choking again.  Officer Christensen, who had driven to New York from East Carondelet, Illinois with Wuss just two days earlier, made the difficult decision to take his dog back home.

"I said that was it," he says.  "I wasn't gonna lose my dog."

The two returned to East Carondelet on Sunday and received a hero's welcome.

Taken from "The Scoop" Dogs in the News.com
Site:  http://dogsinthenews.com/issues/0109/articles/010921a.htm 

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