Twenty, a Dalmatian gifted to the FDNY after 9/11, passed away on Tuesday after a decade and a half of companionship to the brave firefighters of New York City. If there was ever a story about a dog’s miraculous ability to heal emotional wounds, it would be this one.
In the midst of the terrorist attacks that occurred in New York City on September 11th, 2001, many firefighters selflessly gave their lives in order to help rescue other victims. The brave men of FDNY Ladder 20 were the first responders, and rushed to the 35th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center when it collapsed; the heroes of Ladder 20 lost seven of their brothers that day.
In the grief-stricken days that followed, a pair of Sheriffs from Rochester gifted them with a glimmer of joy: a Dalmatian puppy. Her name was Twenty, and she become the Ladder 20 mascot, restoring happiness to the members of the FDNY.
For the next fifteen years, Twenty lived at the fire department as a constant companion to New York’s on-duty heroes. She was also a friend to the firefighter’s families and children.
On the FDNY Facebook page, Ladder 20 Lieutenant Gary Lorio is quoted:
“She really helped to build the morale in the years following 9/11. I can’t say enough about what she did to help us. She went on all the runs, she’d jump in the truck, stick her head out the window and bark. She became a local celebrity.”
And a local celebrity she was. The post commemoriating Twenty’s service to the FDNY currently has over 62,000 “likes” and thousands of comments. Danielle Simone Dolce, a commenter, writes:
“My husband works at ladder 20 and was heartbroken today to learn that it was her time to go today. He took the long trek from Long Island into the city to be with his loyal friend one last time. May she rest easy and once again be the young and playful puppy she was as she crosses the rainbow bridge- [we’ll] miss you 20!!”
RIP to the beautiful, memorable Miss Twenty. As written in the post, Lieutenant Lorio says, “Today, Twenty has taken her final run to Heaven. Rest in peace, man’s best friend.”
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