Last Surviving 9/11 Rescue Dog Celebrates Her Sweet 16 in New York City

This dog certainly had its day.

Here’s a sweet 16 that we can actually get behind. In a heartwarming new video uploaded to YouTube, the last surviving 9/11 search and rescue dog enjoys the NYC birthday bash of her doggy dreams.

As part of her “Dog’s Best Day,” the company BarkBox partnered with 1  Hotels to welcome 16-year-old Bretagne and her owner Denise Corliss back to the city they intrepidly served over a decade ago. In the video, Bretagne is shown a side of New York City she didn’t get to enjoy the first time around: she is put up in a plush hotel room, regaled with gourmet room service, bestowed with a doggy bone to the city, and given all the toys a pup can dream of. Damn, who is chopping these onions!?

It’s the first time Corliss and her canine companion have been back to New York City together since the 2001 attacks. “I haven’t had the opportunity to come to New York and just enjoy it in the way I got to with this trip,” Corliss says in the video. “And certainly New York is a strong city.”

Bretagne was raised and trained by Corliss in Texas, where they together served on Texas Task Force 1. When Bretagne was just two-years-old, she was deployed on her first mission: to look for survivors trapped in the wreckage of the World Trade Center. For two weeks, the two rummaged with around 100 other search and rescue dogs as part of an effort that would save 20 people from the rubble.

Though it was only her first mission, Bretagne demonstrated remarkable mettle. “When our task force arrived in Ground Zero, I just couldn’t believe the magnitude of it, and then I looked down at her, and she seemed stoic and ready to work,” says Corliss.

Bretagne went on to lend a helping paw to other disasters. Bretagne and Corliss assisted in recovery missions of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2014, Bretagne was selected as one of eight finalists for the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards.

In the video, Corliss explains the invaluable place that man’s best friend holds in search and rescue efforts. “When we deployed to some of the disasters, what I didn’t anticipate is the role that they take on as a therapy dog. It provides an opportunity for people to have support from the dog and comfort from the dog in a real difficult environment.”

Now, I’ve never seen a cat do that. Just saying…

Craving more adventures in the animal kingdom? See all of our Animal House stories here.