CYPRESS, Texas - The last known search and rescue dog who worked at ground zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has died.
Bretagne (pronounced "Brittany"), a golden retriever, died at age 16.
KPRC reported that Bretagne was going to turn 17 in August, but her health took a turn for the worse and her handlers took her to the vet Monday afternoon to be euthanized.
On her last walk into Fairfield Animal Hospital veterinary office in Cypress, Texas, she got a hero's salute. On the way out of the hospital, with her body draped in an American flag, she was saluted again.
"This was a very small way for us to pay tribute to a dog who truly has been a hero," Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department Captain David Padovan said. "Just because she's a K-9 doesn't make her any less part of our department than any other member."
Bretagne's owner, Denise Corliss, said she knew it was time to let go when Bretagne did not eat for three consecutive days.
"She was really anxious last night and she just wanted to be with me," Corliss told Today.com on Monday. "So I laid down with her, right next to her. When she could feel me, she could settle down and go to sleep. I slept with her like that all night."
Bretagne will be laid to rest in Houston after a necropsy at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, where there is an ongoing study on 9/11 search dogs.
Bretagne joined the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department's Search and Rescue team in 2000, according to KPRC.
Following her retirement, Bretagne worked as a reading assistance dog at an elementary school.
In addition to her service at ground zero, Bretagne and Corliss were deployed to Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Rita, among other disasters.
This story was originally posted in June. It was republished as part of our 9/11 anniversary coverage.
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