I can still smell the smell of September 11, 2001. I was living in New York and witnessed it all first hand. And the smell – you can never forget it.
But the most important memory for me is what happened afterward and all the animals that played a role in the city’s recovery.
And there were the therapy dogs. Under coordination by the ASPCA many therapy dogs were deployed throughout the city to various locations, providing the solace only a dog can.
Therapy dogs affiliated with Delta Society and other national organizations were scattered throughout the city to hospitals, family centers, schools and counseling centers.
I remember sitting with students in a high school just blocks from Ground Zero days afterward. They had escaped the terror and the dogs were there to encourage conversation, recollections, grief and sharing.
Families visiting New York who were stranded for days had the dogs there to get through the horror and help their children open up to discuss what they had seen and experienced.
First responders needed the dogs more than anyone. Fire stations, police stations, hospital staff were all grateful to have the therapy dogs there to ease their pain and give them a much needed break from their tireless efforts.
Let’s recognize all the volunteers at both ends of the leash who served that day and the days, weeks and months after.