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Trakr, a retired police K-9 heard the call for help as well, and came to the Trade Center rescuers' aid.
When they heard about the disaster at the World Trade Center, Trakr and his owner, Constable Jamie Symington of the Halifax Regional Police, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, hopped in their car and drove 14 hours to New York City.
They worked tirelessly from Wednesday morning through Friday, when Trakr collapsed from exhaustion (Adelman). Another example of how rescuers both human and pawed refused to give up, until they physically couldn't go any longer.
Perhaps one of the saddest losses of canine heroes was Servus, a highly trained Belgian Malnois. This brave boy died in the arms of his handler of lung injuries, attributed to the World Trade Center site, a year and a half after his rescue efforts. Chris Christensen, Servus' handler, recalled that Servus had refused to stay in the police car, insisting that he work. This was despite the fact that he had fallen head-first into debris and inhaled concrete dust. It was the injuries he sustained during his September 11th work, that would eventually lead to his death (Durand).
However, the commitment from both dog and handler continue on even after Servus' tragic passing. Durand quotes Christensen, quite poignantly,
Everyone has asked me if I would have changed a thing about going to the World Trade Center. (...) Without a thought I would not have changed anything and neither would Servus, even though it cost him his life and in turn has broken my heart. We went to help those who needed us, not to be heroes. It is doubtful that I will ever have a love and bond closer than Servus and I - he taught me the meaning of courage, loyalty and honor.
This is a lesson that can be learned by everyone.
These animals and their handlers selflessly heard the call of the September 11th disaster and answered without hesitation. For a solid month, hundreds of search and rescue dogs climbed, crawled, jumped, and sniffed through acres and acres of debris. There was little thought for their own safety. They knew they had a job to do, and they did it. Many were injured during the process of trying to save others. and, although none amazingly died during the actual rescue operation, several would pay this ultimate sacrifice later from injuries and disease acquired from their work at the debris pile that was once the mighty World Trade Centers. They not only rescued people, but they served as ambassadors of hope for those human counterparts who they worked alongside. Their tirelessness and love was an inspiration that gave allowed those who had lost friends and colleagues to continue on, despite the unbelievable tragedy they were facing.
Although some of these canine heroes are simply created out of necessity, when finding themselves in an emergency, most in the September 11th aftermath were highly trained professionals. These dogs are recruited, often from animal shelters, selected for their high energy, boldness, and relentless drive to play, work and please their owner. These are often the animals who were given up by their previous owners for qualities that will serve them well as rescue dogs. It not only gives them a new lease on life, but also gives them the potential to give someone else a new lease on life, when they successfully perform a rescue.
And, although organizations like the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation spends approximately $10,000 training each dog, the work they do is absolutely priceless (Stein).
Adelman, B. "Meet Our Heroes." Dog World 87(4) Apr 2002: p. 4. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCOHost. University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ. October 31, 2007 http://web.ebscohost.com.
The Dogs of the World Trade Center. 2005. Dogspeak.ca. October 31, 2007 http://www.dogspeak.ca/WTCDogs.htm.
Durand, M. "A Hero to Remember." Dog World 88(8) Aug 2003: p. 6. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCOHost. University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ. October 31, 2007 http://web.ebscohost.com.
Hurst, M. "Helping the Rescuers." Education Week 21(22) 13 Feb 2002: p. 3. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOHost. University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ. October 31, 2007 http://web.ebscohost.com.
Stein, L. "Man's Best Friend." U.S. News & World Report 138(22) 13 Jun 2005:…[continue]
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