She’s believed to be the last living rescue dog that responded to Ground Zero. Bretagne, a golden retriever, went to New York City with her handler Denise Corliss 14 years ago as part of Texas Task Force 1, to help find survivors of the World Trade Center attacks. Their mission — their first deployment together — quickly turned from a rescue to a recovery.
Bretagne and Corliss returned to New York last week to celebrate the dog’s 16th birthday with a weekend of events and treats, organized and filmed by BarkPost, the publishing arm of Bark & Co.
Bretagne enjoyed upscale versions of things dogs like: Special treats, a romp in a water park, even a birthday cake. Read more about the party here.
Last year was the first time Corliss and Bretagne had been in New York City since the terrorist attacks. At the time, Corliss recalled on the “Today” show how Bretagne began her task once she arrived at Ground Zero in 2001. “When she sees the pile, she’s ready to go to work,” she said. “She’s like, ‘Let me in. Let me do my job.'”
The dog would thoroughly search areas of rubble, and if no one was found, the piles were removed, Corliss told “Today.”
During the mission, the then-2-year-old dog spent 12 hours a day searching Ground Zero alongside roughly 300 other rescue canines, her handler told the Daily News in 2014.
But Bretagne also provided comfort to human rescuers engaged in the heart-wrenching work.
“When we deployed to some of the disasters, what I didn’t anticipate was the role they take on as a therapy dog,” Corliss told BarkPost. “It provides an opportunity for people to have support from the dog and comfort from the dog in a real difficult environment.”
Last week, humans showed their appreciation to Bretagne by showering her with love.
“She is a 16-year-old,” Corliss told BarkPost as Bretagne splashed around in a fountain. “But yet, when you’re around water with her, she acts like a young puppy.”