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Canine Heroes of 9/11

Following the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, many canines emerged as heroes for their valiant and determined efforts at Ground Zero. Nearly 400 dogs worked tirelessly in their search for survivors. The Search and Rescue (SAR) dog's motto is "duty, dedication and a job to be done." Here are just a few of their amazing stories.

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As Omar Eduardo Rivera worked on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center, terrorists struck the building 25 floors above him. Rivera was blind and under his desk laid his guide dog, Dorado, a Labrador Retriever. Confused and a bit disoriented, Rivera unleashed Dorado so that the dog could escape. "I hoped he would be able to quickly run down the stairs without me and get to safety," explains Rivera. For a while, the Lab was swept away by the rush of people who were fleeing down the stairs; however, after a few minutes, Rivera felt the familiar nudge of Dorado. The canine had returned to his side and guided him to safety.

Mike Hingson was on the 78th floor and his guide dog Roselle, also a Lab, lead him down the stairs. "Roselle did a good job. She stayed focused. We smelled a lot of jet fuel on the way down. She never hesitated. She never panicked," says Hingson.

Kinsey of the Texas Task Force One
'Kinsey' of the Texas Task Force One

Kinsey was rescued from a shelter where she was facing euthanasia in 2000. Following her rescue, she went to live with Bob Deeds of the Texas Task Force One who trained her in search and rescue, and one year later she had earned her Type I-Advanced Disaster Dog certification. Her very first job was the World Trade Center. In the years that followed, she remained dedicated to search and rescue, being deployed to 7 federal disasters. Because of her great work in New York City, Kinsey was a recipient of the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) Dickin Medal for Gallantry which is the highest award for animals in the world. It is awarded to animals displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defense Units.