Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Honoring SAR dogs of 9-11

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, over 350 trained search and rescue dogs responded to Ground Zero and the Pentagon.  The dogs were extremely important in locating human victims, by using their sense of smell and agility to direct workers to the location of those injured and deceased.  The aftermath of 9/11 saw the largest deployment of SAR (search-and-rescue) dogs in U.S. history.  In addition, 300 therapeutic dogs were deployed to help comfort people.

The majority of dogs that responded to 9/11 worked in shifts of 7 to 14 days, which helped limit the animal’s risk of respiratory illness.

Officially, the only dog known to have been killed during the September 11 terrorist attacks is Sirius. Sirius worked with Sergeant David Lim as the Explosive Detector Team of the World Trade Center.  On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Sirius and his handler, Sergeant David Lim, were performing a routine search of the South Tower when the North Tower was attacked.  David Lim initially thought that he and Sirius had made a big mistake, and missed an explosive device in the North Tower.  He told the dog: “I think we’re in a lot of trouble.  I will be back for you.”  With those words, Lim locked Sirius in his kennel and rushed to the North Tower to help victims.

Lim continued to run from the South Tower all the way to North Tower’s 44th floor before he heard the South Tower collapse.  On 9/11, the North Tower was hit first, but the South Tower collapsed first.  After hearing the explosion, Lim instantly started to retreat down the North Tower.  When he reached the 4th floor, he joined a group of firefighters who were saving a woman named Josephine Harris.  At this point, the North Tower collapsed on Lim and the firefighters.  Miraculously, after the building fell, Lim, Harris, and all the firefighters were alive in Stairwell B on the 4th floor of the North Tower.

After five grueling hours, the group was rescued.  They remain part of the 14 people to survive the collapse of the 110-story building.  As Lim crawled to safety, he cried out for his K-9 partner Sirius, who was left in what used to be the South Tower.  The body of Sirius, still inside the kennel, wasn’t recovered until January 22, 2002.  Sirius was killed instantly during the collapse of the South Tower, and received full Police Honors.

When Lim was told about the recovery, he came to the scene and carried out his friend’s body, draped in the American flag.  A memorial service was held for Sirius at Liberty State Park, which was attended by 400 people, including 100 K-9 teams from across the country.  A park in New York is named in honor of Sirius the dog.

Read more: http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-rescue-dogs-from-911.php#ixzz26AoLSjHD

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