Now more than ever, you are needed to donate your old blankets, towels, and sheets to your local animal shelter. With financial cut-backs, repairs on shelters are often put off, so if it's drafty, the animals suffer. I know my shelter uses rags to stuff under doors. No kidding! Empty out those closets... this is your chance to get rid of stuff and do something useful!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

K9 Heros of 9-11

Over 100 dogs performed searches in the days and weeks after 9-11.  Of those today just 12 survive. I cannot help but to think while looking at these fine pictures by Dutch  photographer Charlotte Dumas that any of these dogs might be ones we see in animal shelter photos. Who can know what a dog has endured during their life? Perhaps they worked tirelessly to save a human at some point.


Scout (and another unidentified dog)


Hard to believe it's been ten years since 9-11. I was in class at Hunter College, taking a masters in Urban Affairs, and we were waiting on a speaker who was hugely late. At some point two other professors rushed into the classroom and said "two planes have hit the World Trade Center." I knew, and probably a lot of people knew that it was no accident. I pictured the towers toppling down, which is not how it happened of course, and said to myself instinctively that such a circumstance would be a tremendous victory "for them."  After the class was over, everyone jumped up and started making calls on cell phones. Down the hallway (we were on the 17th floor,) you could see all the way down Lexington Avenue that smoke was billowing downtown. The towers had not yet fallen. I got downstairs and made my way to my office, some two avenues and three blocks away. On the way I saw a woman making a call; she was in front of the Eddie Bauer store (which is not there anymore) on 68th Street and Third Avenue, and as I walked past her I heard her say, frantically, "Have you heard from Eileen?!" I never, of course, found out if she or the person she was speaking to had heard from Eileen, but her voice and that moment remain with me.

I got to the college where I was working at the time, Marymount Manhattan on East 71st, and I can recall thinking of the freshmen standing out front indulging in their new smoking habit, that they have no idea things are about to change for them and that this will be their JFK moment. The towers still had not fallen down.

I got upstairs and my colleagues were standing around our 85 year-old secretary's transistor radio, listening to what was going on. A plane had gone done in Pennsylvania near where a co-worker was from.  Students started wandering around looking wide-eyed and we began grabbing them and telling them to call their parents on our office phones. They were fine till they got the parents on the phone and then the tears started. The large event room next to our suite of offices was set up for a lecture that included a pair of TVs and many chairs. Someone flipped the sets on and people began trickling in to watch.

Later in the day a group of staff and student workers (we had many working in our office and we were close with them so they instinctively came to hang out during the crisis,) walked to give blood at the 67th Street NY Blood Center. We waited there on line for three hours. Slowly the line snaked around four city blocks and we were finally next to be able to donate. But instead they shuffled us into the high school across the street and we sat on cafeteria table benches that seemed much smaller than the last time I sat on ones like them. The blood center staff began handing out snacks and a guy said aloud (it was completely quiet so we all heard him) "did you ever think when you woke up this morning you would be sitting in Julia Richman High School eating cheese-its?" By this time both towers had fallen. It was inconceivable.



We never did get to donate. The blood center ran out of supplies. We thought this was good in a way because it meant many people would be getting blood. But that's not what happened.

We know there were few survivors from the actual towers that fell. But before we knew that, there were those who were searching the rubble for hours and days on end.

 Anna Edwards from the UK reports.
Travelling across nine states in the U.S. from Texas to Maryland, Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas, 34, captured the remaining dogs in their twilight years in their homes where they still live with their handlers, a full decade on from 9/11.
Their stories have now been compiled in a book, called Retrieved, which is published on Friday, the tenth anniversary of the attacks.
Noted for her touching portraits of animals, especially dogs, Charlotte wanted 'Retrieved' to mark not only the anniversary of the September 2001 attacks, but also as recognition for some of the first responders and their dogs.