Lynne Engelbert & “Lucy”, age 10½
California Task Force 4 (Oakland, CA).
“We worked 12-15 hrs., went through decon and back to the Javits where she was greeted by the VMAT folks (they were awesome!), bathed in warm water, given her nose-to-tail vet check, fed, walked and then I would go take care of me. Usually when I returned from the shower, she would be out playing tug with the firefighters. Endless energy! Lucy was able to locate numerous remains and help to bring closure for several families … There are no credits on the rooftop shot. I just handed my camera to a nearby firefighter and asked him to take some shots. The rubble site shot was on the Marriott hotel site where Lucy located the remains of a firefighter. This photo was taken by Tom Clark, Structural Specialist with CA TF4 … Thank you for your efforts to recognize these wonderful animals.” — Lynne Engelbert.
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (USA) — As a rule, emergency rescuers don’t hesitate to consider their own hides. Sadly, there were 341 brave firefighters who died by that credo in the Sept. 11 horror last year. And, not to be overlooked, just as many dogs were just as eager to rush toward an uncertain fate for the sake of duty.
Only one dog died in the World Trade Center1, but the risks taken by each of the estimated 350 search-and-rescue (SAR) pooches were immense, nonetheless. They walked on shattered glass, stuck their noses into concrete dust and crawled on their bellies through cavities that even rats were too afraid to explore. So what exactly is the price for such devotion?
Skin cancer, prostatitis, nerve damage and arthritis are a few of the ailments that are dogging “Bear”, a 12-year-old Golden Retriever who sniffed through the rubble for three months. But we’ll get to Bear’s story in a minute. First, let’s hear the facts agreed upon by most veterinarians and handlers.
“The University of Penn is doing a study of the teams that worked the WTC and Pentagon,” says Lynne Engelbert, a rescuer with California Task Force 4, “So we will find out in about 3 years if there are any ill effects.
“Lucy (left) didn’t have any issues at all. And she was 10½ years old at the time. She worked the rubble like a puppy … I know more of the teams that worked either the WTC or the Pentagon and know of nothing so far in any of them.”
Indeed, if there’s one indisputable point, it’s that the ASPCA, Suffolk County SPCA, VMAT and “doggy M*A*S*H” units took good care of our four-legged helpers (and we can’t overlook the TLC from a few volunteer dog-chiropractors on site who offered some professional back-rubs). But even with such expert care, our canine first-aid teams were not infallible.
For one, there’s no accounting for the psychological trauma that possibly could have affected some of the dogs. Fortunately, though, most dogs who have been trained in disaster recovery were well prepared for the “smell of death”.
As Ms. Engelbert explains: “This is what Lucy and I train to do. Although the site was massive and the devastation total, we were ready to go to work and did so as soon as we could. …finding the dead isn’t new to us. Although we would much prefer to find the living, helping to bring closure for the families of the victims was also gratifying. Knowing the families had ‘something’ definitive and could go on with their lives brings a sense of accomplishment.
“Neither one of us have had any emotional issues as a result of this deployment.”
full article here;:http://dogsinthenews.com/issues/0207/articles/020723a.htm
Morgan a German Shepherd with her K9 Partner Molly a Yellow Labrador were some of the first cadaver dogs on the scene at Ground Zero on September the 11th. Cadaver dogs are given a extremely difficult job that no human or otherwise would want to do freely. It is in many ways a job without reward, in that there is no happy ending as they are finding a lifeless body or remains. These dogs are believed to be at times traumatized by the aspect of finding these bodies. It is upsetting to them to find the deceased person. The cadaver dog fully understands that these humans have ceased living, these dogs are not immune to the emotions of fear, sorrow and avoidance that we humans can feel surrounding death.
Morgan fell and was injured during the initial search but returned to duty as soon as she had seen a veterinarian. One can only imagine the massive amounts of hazardous chemicals, dust and contaminants and sharp objects these dogs had to endure.
Morgan was effected not only physically by the debris and toxic dust in the air at Ground Zero, but emotionally she needed to retire, so she did rest up until duty called her again, with another extremely tragic event in our nations history. When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana there was another massive emergency call for help. Morgan courageously traveled to work and find those who had gone missing and ceased to be. It is probably just as important to find these deceased bodies as it is to find living bodies. Buddhism teaches that there is powerful Karma attached to caring for deceased bodies and helping the family and their spirit understand what has happened. Morgan and Molly’s job was thankless in many ways and it is something that most humans attach great fear and avoidance to death or any reminder of it such as bodies and remains. It is quite possible that Morgan has attained this highest Karma in helping scores of grieving family members.
If my life was to cease to be I could think of no greater spirit to see than a dog guiding me to the light, I can’t think of any being more trustworthy in life than the dog, so the same qualities of our dogs exist in death. I would imagine Morgan and Molly both and dogs like them are in many as guide dog for the souls who have fallen somewhere estranged from their families, giving not only closure to the family closure but a restful understanding to the soul of the departed.