The last surviving search and rescue dog, who found survivors buried under rubble at the site of the Setpember 11th attacks, returned there yesterday with her handler for an emotional visit. 

The attacks on September 11th, 2001 brought people together instead of tearing them apart, and when Denise Corliss of Cypress, Texas saw the tragedy unfolding before her eyes on television, she knew that both her and Bretagne, her specially trained working dog, could lend a hand. 

They packed up and headed across the country, arriving in Manhattan to help the rescue effort, and both Denise and Bretagne worked together to find any survivors who might have been buried under the rubble, or injured and unable to get out themselves. 

For the first time since the attacks in 2001, they returned to the site where the twin towers once stood and remembered the work that they had done there all those years ago. 

Image via Today/Denise Corliss

Bretagne is now 15-years-old, and is the last surviving search and rescue dog to have worked at Ground Zero. Denise and Bretagne appeared on The Today Show to give a touching interview about what it was like to work in that atmosphere at that time, and the important role that the dog played not just in finding survivors. 

Dr. Cindy Otto, a vet who was on hand to look after the dogs and ensure they were alright, said that they had a secondary role too: "You’d see firefighters sitting there, unanimated, stone-faced, no emotion, and then they’d see a dog and break out into a smile. Those dogs brought the power of hope. They removed the gloom for just an instant - and that was huge because it was a pretty dismal place to be."

Image via Today/Denise Corliss

Having retired from search and rescue work at the age of nine, Bretagne now helps young and special needs children to learn how to read, and thanks to all her work in the past at other disaster sites, including Hurricane Katrina, she has been nominated for the American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards, along with some other outstanding candidates too. 

Via Images via Corliss