Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Time for Heroes

It’s no surprise that, every year around this time, we spend a lot of time thinking about heroes in general and the selfless individuals who risked life and limb immediately following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 in particular.

What many of us don’t know is that a number of those individuals were highly trained canines, like Harley shown here with his handler, Rob Cima, at Ground Zero. As Dogtime tells us:
Thirteen of those heroes came from the Search Dog Foundation (SDF) in Ojai, California. Search dogs are invaluable in such missions, as their powerful sense of smell can lead rescue workers directly to trapped or immobilized victims. The World Trade Center site was still smoldering when SDF Retriever Harley and his handler, Rob Cima, arrived. The two worked as part of a team covering “100 square blocks from Ground Zero, with debris piled eleven stories high.”
In some cases, they were unwanted pets, recruited from pounds and shelters.
These “throw-away” animals -- once abandoned and unwanted -- are now part of life-saving search and rescue teams. They’ve proven their indispensability not only in 9/11 efforts, but in Haiti and Japan and with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. And true to its aim, Melville’s foundation has been saving lives without breeding or adding to the current population of animals. According to Janet Reineck, director of development for SDF, "Many of [the recruited dogs] are 24 hours away from euthanasia.”

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