“A few days after the towers fell, when I was finally able to bring myself to leave the house, I headed down towards ground zero with my cameras. I got as close as I could, which was a tent on West Street somewhere near Chambers Street, set up by VMAT (Veterinary Medical Assistance Team)
This mission was the first time VMATs had been deployed by the federal government. Their job was to to maintain the health of service dogs canvassing the area for the missing.
Over the two days that I spent with them, I met search and rescue dogs and handlers that had come from all over the country. I remember how somber the men & women and their dogs were when coming off of “the pile”. There was talk of the dogs becoming depressed because they were not finding any survivors.
One of the handlers that I met, Erick Robertson woke up on 9-11 and got in the car with his dog Pork-chop and drove across the country from California to assist in the search. I reconnected with Erick this summer. He reported that the last of the search and rescue dogs from 9/11 had recently died. Pork-chop had been gone for some years now and Erick, himself, had survived cancer. He is now involved with organizing an exhibit at the memorial in honor of the search and rescue dogs.
In this time of great division in our country it is good to remember the unity in those days and months after, particularly in New York City. Today I am remembering this-how we came together, as a city and a country, as Americans. I woke up thinking about the words of Mr. Rogers, “My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”
Brei Noelle Olivier: “Apparently the human rescuers had to stage successful rescues to keep the morale of the canines up. They were becoming depressed because there weren’t many successful (read: alive) rescues compared to how many people were already deceased. We don’t deserve dogs 😭”
All credits : www.facebook.com/tracey.litt