Doug Sahlberg and his cadaver dog Molly were at Ground Zero nearly ten years ago.
“Overwhelming,” says Doug Sahlberg of the Richmond Hill Police “That’s all I can say. Almost speechless.”
Sahlberg and his cadaver dog Molly were at ground zero nearly ten years ago.
He went with fellow Southside firefighter John Frank and his dog Morgan.
It’s something Sahlberg doesn’t like to talk about, but when he does, the memories are crystal clear.
“When I look back at the pictures it doesn’t seem like a long time ago. It seems like just yesterday,” Sahlberg says. “I haven’t looked at those pictures in years.”
Now a detective in Richmond Hill, Molly’s picture is right behind his desk.
She was only six years old when she passed away. Tests found toxins in her body from Ground Zero.
“It was an experience for her as well as I. When she first got back she was depressed; laying on the couch, and didn’t want to work. It definitely took at toll on her as well,” Sahlberg says.
Ten years later, physically, Sahlberg says he’s fine. His checkups show he’s healthy. But emotionally, it’s still hard. He says for all the first responders it always will be hard.
“We were recovering 150 to 200 pieces of human cadaver every shift and when I got home I chose not to eat meat for about a year. It was a little overwhelming,” Sahlberg says.
Instead of focusing on what he went through, the 20 hour shifts looking for bodies, he mostly wants to talk about the soldiers he says deserve the recognition.
Savannah, GA —
Remembering 9/11 and Local Cadaver Dogs Molly and Morgan
By: Kim Gusby
Published: September 09, 2011
In an instant, the world changed. But it’s what transpired moments after the Twin Towers went down… moments after flight 93 crashed into that Pennsylvania field… that Southside Fire Department Assistant Chief Hugh Futrell says he will never forget.
“We immediately started looking at alarm responses and what we were going to have to start thinking about in the way of possibilities and what could happen.”
First responders from all over the country answered FEMA’s call for help- including a local team of firefighters and their four legged companions.
“That evening we got our dog teams together. We got them loaded up and stuff. They drove straight through… Code 3… lights and sirens… stopping only for fuel… all the way to New York City.”
They arrived early the next morning… Lieutenant John Frank… Chief Doug Sahlberg… and K9s, Captain Morgan and Molly… the first cadaver dog teams on site at the World Trade Center.
For eight days they dug through the rubble… dealing with dust… debris… and devastation…
“Those dogs literally gave their lives for doing that. There’s no telling how much of that dust and other debris that was there that they actually inhaled… and probably shortened their lives to some degree.”
Morgan took a fall in the rubble but remained committed to her task of recovering the bodies of those lost.
Morgan and Molly returned home heros- unaware of the dangers they faced and the difference they’d made during our country’s darkest days.
“These were committed animals… and at the time a friend of the department… and a friend of the world. It’s just good to see they did what they did and provide us… all of us… with some comfort and closure.”
As we reflect and honor the lives lost and the sacrifices made, Futrell says let us not forget the service and bravery of Molly and Morgan- two K-9 emergency responders who ultimately proved to be man’s best friend.
Captain Morgan passed away in July of this year. Her partner, Molly, died in 2005.