While browsing the NY Times for yesterday’s post, I came across a photo feature on portraits of 9/11 rescue dogs, ten years later.
From the NY Times: Orion, age 13, Vacaville, Calif. He worked at the World Trade Center for five days after the attacks and later participated in searches for missing hikers in the High Sierras, at elevations of as much as 12,000 feet. Orion’s owner says that the dog ‘‘loved the work. His purpose in living was doing search and rescue work.’’ Photo by Charlotte Dumas
From the NY Times: Bailey, age 14, Thompson Station, Tenn. She went to the Pentagon following the attacks of 9/11. Later in her career, she was active in wilderness searches in her home state. Her owner says: ‘‘Even today, if I say we’re going to search, she’ll get all excited. She still perks up.’’ Photo by Charlotte Dumas
The portraits struck a chord. Perhaps because I lived in New York at the time, and the attack and aftermath are still vivid and emotional memories for me. Or perhaps it’s the reminder of the passage of time, and the echo of other aging heroes, like our WWII veterans.
According to publishers, The Ice Planet:
Immediately following the attacks of 9/11, nearly 100 trained search dogs and their handlers—enlisted from 18 U.S. states—were deployed by FEMA to join the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Alongside firemen and other teams sorting through the debris, the dogs worked tirelessly around the clock to locate survivors in the rubble—images of which deeply intrigued Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas as the events unfolded in the news media. One decade later, discovering that only 15 of these dogs were still alive, Dumas succeeded in tracking each of them down, visiting and photographing the dogs at their homes throughout the U.S., where they all still live with their handlers. Composed at close range in natural light, Dumas’ powerful portraits—reproduced here in a thoughtfully designed paperback volume with Japanese binding—offer an intimate view into the everyday lives of these highly specialized working animals, now sharing the vulnerability of old age as they once pursued a common heroic goal.
The book will be released in September. In the meantime, you can check out more portraits and stories of the last surviving 9/11 rescue dogs in the NYTimes magazine feature here.