The last surviving search dog that sniffed out Ground Zero for trapped survivors after the 9/11 terrorist attacks has died.
Bretagne, a 16-year-old golden retriever, was euthanized Monday at a Texas veterinary hospital, fire officials said.
Owner and volunteer firefighter Denise Corliss is “distraught” over Bretagne’s death, Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Padovan told the Daily News.
“She had lived longer and accomplished more than anybody,” Padovan said.
Firefighters in the Houston suburb learned of Corliss’ saddening decision Sunday night and paid tribute to their canine friend outside the animal hospital, saluting Bretagne one last time as she struggled up the sidewalk with her handler.
Bretagne’s body was draped in an American flag and taken to Texas A&M University, where veterinarians will perform a necropsy and study the effects of Ground Zero on her body.
“She was one of a kind,” Padovan added. “She was always eager to do searchers, even after she ‘retired.’ ”
In her final days and weeks, Padovan said Bretagne spent most of her time at home completing a bucket list made by Corliss and her husband, Randy.
That list included Corliss bringing Bretagne to Robert Road Elementary School where young children had gotten to know her as a storytime companion.
“They were able to take her back to say goodbye,” Padovan added.
Bretagne’s career as a dogged search pup began at Ground Zero. As a 2-year-old rescue pooch, she joined about 300 search dogs in the first wave of first responders at the disaster site on behalf of Texas Task Force 1.
Photos from the attack aftermath show Bretagne snuggling up to Corliss while taking a break from surveying the rubble.
She celebrated her 16th birthday in New York City last year, days before the 14th anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
She later surveyed the damage Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans before retiring at age 10.