Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hero dogs of 9/11: Dog Files' tribute on Animal Planet

I can't believe it's been 12 years.

I won't tell you where I was or what I was doing or thinking.

I want tell you about a story I don't recall hearing much about in the immediate aftermath.

On Tuesday, Animal Planet aired "Hero Dogs of 9/11," a one-hour special about the 300 dogs who helped in the search, rescue and eventually recovery effort in the aftermath.

The special came from producer Kenn Bell, creator of The Dog Files. On his website, Bell talked about how this special came about, and why it was so important to him:

"One of the things I noticed were the dogs that some of the emergency workers walked with. At this point, Dog Files wasn’t even a glimmer in my eye but I knew something special was going on with the dogs. The workers gathered around the dogs. Some workers hugged them, others cried. The dogs were a great comfort to the exhausted workers. Probably more than the cheering crowd was that I was a part of. It was cathartic to all who watched."
Bell created a short called "Hero Dogs of 9/11," which was soon a viral hit. But that short only gave us a visual look at the dogs who worked tirelessly at Ground Zero. That hour long special went much deeper, with interviews with the handlers, and with survivors from the towers. 

Not all the hero dogs were rescue dogs. There was also Roselle, a seeing eye dog who helped her human, Michael Hingson, get out of the towers before they collapsed.

There were therapy dogs, like Nikie, who helped not only the victims, but also the Ground Zero workers by providing them with a furry friend to curl up with and confide in. Their place in the history of the day is just as important.

And then there was Sirius, a bomb sniffing dog, and the only dog to die in the attacks. Sirius' handler, David Lim, had left him in his crate while he went to help people evacuate from one of the buildings. Lim was trapped under the rubble and survived the collapse.

These stories touched my heart because they demonstrated the unbreakable bond between humans and animals, even when times are dark.

Right now it does not look like Animal Planet will be airing "Hero Dogs of 9/11" again. I hope that changes. Or at least I hope they put it up on their website, or release it on DVD.

However, you can see two shorts about the dogs on Dog Files -- the original, and "Hero Dogs of 9/11: Legacy.

Thank you to Kenn Bell for reminding us that heroes are not just human.


  1. Thanks so much for the kind comments. Check your OnDemand. I believe it is on there.

  2. Dogs are oneof the most loyal animals, at least i think.. Never asking for anythin in return for the service or the love they give.. Working hrs upon hrs, digging n the remains if the towers along side of the ppl, working for the same goal, to find someone.. A friend of mine has always said if u want true love get a dog, anything else, get a human.. I have 3, & i love them all dearly.. Very good show to watch... Thank you for recognizing the hard work & loyalty these animals give us...

  3. Indeed, dogs are not just for guarding our houses but they can also save peoples lives. Like my beagle he chased away snake when he saw it in our garden. We are lucky because we have dogs. Great post!


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