A 16-year-old golden retriever believed to have been the last surviving rescue dog from the World Trade Center attacks got a hero's goodbye on Monday in Texas. Firefighters and other rescue officials lined the sidewalk and saluted Bretagne (pronounced "Brittany") as handler Denise Corliss walked her into a vet's office to be euthanized, reports the Houston Chronicle. Bretagne and Corliss were among the rescue teams deployed to Ground Zero in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in what turned out to be a fruitless attempt to find survivors.
Corliss tells CNN that despite the inability to find survivors, Bretagne played an unexpectedly helpful role after the attacks: Strangers would approach and ask to pet her, and then share their own personal stories about losing loved ones on 9/11. "Dogs can be so comforting, so it makes sense to me now," she says. "I just didn't anticipate that, then." Bretagne retired from her rescue duties in 2010 from the Cy-Fair Fire Department in Harris County, Texas, but she remained a fixture at the fire station. (Read more 9/11 attacks stories.)