On September 11, 2001, Bretagne was deployed to the World Trade Center disaster scene with owner/handler Denise Corliss to aid in rescue efforts.
Though it marked their very first deployment as partners in Texas Task Force 1, Corliss attests that she couldn’t have asked for a more composed companion to keep her grounded on “Ground Zero.” At a mere 2 years old, Bretagne joined 100 other search dogs to save victims bound by the rubble of the WTC catastrophe. She worked 12-hour days with no sign of relenting until her work was finished.
Now, 14 years later, Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”) has reached superpup status as the last living search dog at the 9/11 scene, and she was recently invited back to New York City for a much more joyous occasion—her super sweet 16.
Though 16 may mark the peak of youth in human years, this golden retriever is no young pup. Rounding out a whopping 80 in dog years, she is a senior citizen to her puppy peers. So it’s no surprise that when Bark Post heard about the dog’s upcoming 16th birthday, they felt she was long overdue for receiving the honor of their “Dog’s Best Day” dream trip.
After hearing of Bretagne’s heroic service in the aftermath of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and more, the Bark Post was determined to plan a “Dog’s Best Day” like NO dog has seen before.
The day started with a first-class puppy pad provided by 1 Hotel Central Park where Bretagne was pampered with in-room dining and doggie treats galore. Then, a vintage NYC taxi chauffeured her and Corliss to a big surprise at Times Square, where a personalized billboard touted a larger-than-life birthday shoutout thanking the duo for their service.
After the day of play that followed, The Board of Friends of Hudson River Park presented the retriever with the canine equivalent to the key of the city—the Bone to the Dog Park— in classy, Tiffany & Co. style. Like a Purple Heart for dogs, the engraved collar adornment marked Bretagne a bone-afied hero.
She was welcomed back at the hotel with a party made in puppy heaven, complete with cake, party hats and enough doggie toys to fill a Dogs “R” Us. But the best birthday present of all was a $1,000 check donated to Texas Task Force 1 in Bretagne’s honor so they can continue training incredible search and rescue dogs.
The over-the-top occasion brought Corliss to tears, who was overwhelmed by the gratitude they were shown by the coordinators of the extravagant event and by the countless New-Yorkers who stopped in their busy tracks to thank her and Bretagne for their service.
Amidst all of Bretagne’s admirers, no one could be more thankful for her than her long-time owner and partner in rescue.
Corliss told Bark Post, “When we deployed to some of the disasters, what I didn’t anticipate is the role that they take on as a therapy dog. It provides an opportunity for people to have support from the dog and comfort from the dog in a really difficult environment.”
Her unwavering support from Bretagne in the face of disaster has created a bond between the two that she will forever treasure:
“A lot of dog handlers say you get that one dog and I’ve had several canine partners, but Bretagne is that one dog for me.”