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Bretagne, pronounced Brittany, a golden retriever, was only 2 years old when she and her handler Denise Corliss deployed to Ground Zero after 9/11, as part of Texas Task Force 1. It was the pair’s first deployment.


Bretagne is one of two rescue dogs remaining of the original 300 that worked at ground zero. Another search dog from 9/11, a 16-year-old English springer spaniel named Morgan, worked at Staten Island after the terrorist attacks and is still alive today, said Dr. Cindy Otto, a veterinarian who provided on-the-scene medical care for 9/11 search dogs and has been tracking their health ever since. “It warms my heart that both Bretagne and Morgan are still with us almost 14 years after their heroic work in the 9/11 response,” Otto said.

It was truly heart wrenching to look through the pictures on Google of the rescue dogs and their owners. The dogs were every bit as emotional and exhausted as their handlers were. As Bridget said on The Happy Quitter, you could just see it in their eyes. I read quite a bit this afternoon about these dogs and was amazed at how focused they were on what needed to be done. They had to have been frightened. Just as frightened as the people working the sites, but they didn’t (literally) turn tail and run. Is it any wonder that dogs are called man’s best friends?

Besides being loyal companions that are great for lowering blood pressure, dogs are now widely used for many kinds of professional reasons. Scientist and doctors have found that dogs can sense when cancerous tumors are present in their owners, they can smell when there is a drop in blood sugar. Dogs can also predict seizures. And they are being used very successfully as companions for deeply depressed people.

None of the tweet prompts on the assignment for Writing 101 inspired me. This one just sort of fell into my lap. I thought it was very fitting and appropriate to use it today to pay tribute to the wonderful dogs (and their handlers) who worked so hard to save lives on this day 14 years ago. May they always be remembered as heros.

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Writing 101 Day 5

Let social media inspire you

One of the goals of Writing 101 is to tap into new and unexpected places for post ideas. Today, let’s look to Twitter for inspiration.

Today, write a response to one of these a tweet. Shape your post in any way you choose — agree or disagree with the tweet, or use it as a starting point for a story, personal essay, poem, or something else. Hover over your chosen tweet to click to the original, copy the tweet’s URL in your browser, and insert this URL on its own line in your post editor. These steps will embed the tweet in your post.

If none of these tweets appeal to you, visit Twitter.com and enter #quotes in the search field, which will display tweets with this hashtag. Find a tweet that intrigues you. When you’ve found one, click on its timestamp (for example, “30m,” “10h,” or “Jul 31“), copy the tweet’s URL in your browser, and drop this URL on its own line in your post editor to embed the tweet in your post.