Even when a dog crosses the rainbow bridge, they remain a part of their humans’ lives in so many ways. Bretagne (pronounced Britney) is one of the most famous search dogs from 9/11. She passed away in 2016, but she lives on through her handler, Denise Corliss.
Corliss recently spoke up about how Bretagne continues to influence rescue work even after her death. There are many ways that the brave pup has been memorialized, and her legacy continues through many other dedicated dogs. Bretagne’s hard work will never be forgotten, especially with the unique ways Corliss honors her.
Not only did Bretagne work a 12-hour rescue shift after 9/11, but she continuously comforted the humans involved. She was known as the last living working dog from 9/11, but even after she passed, she continued to influence those around her. Texas citizens are reminded of her through a beautiful bronze statue near Houston.
Corliss also ensures that she never goes to work without Bretagne close to her heart. She always wears a glass pendant that contains the dog’s ashes. It’s both a good luck symbol and a heartfelt memorial.
“I don’t take that pendant off,” Corliss said. “Bretagne is always with me when we deploy.”
Whenever she drives home, Corliss passes Bretagne’s life-sized statue. But the greatest memory of Bretagne occurs when Corliss gets to her house. At home, she’s always greeted by 1-year-old Finn, who is Bretagne’s biological sister.
Her Sister Continues Her Legacy
Before Bretagne’s breeders retired, they used the frozen genetic makeup of Bretagne’s biological father to create another litter of puppies. When Corliss found out, she was ecstatic. She knew Bretagne’s legacy would live on through her younger siblings.
“They called me and asked me if I would be interested in having one of the puppies,” Corliss said. “As they were telling me the story, tears were running down my face. Of course, anything that’s close to Bretagne is one I want. … I don’t even care if she becomes a working dog or not. I’m just so happy to have her.”
Finn got her name after the word “finale” since she’s the last sibling of the incredible working dog. The young dog might become a human remains detection dog in the future, similar to one of the crucial tasks Bretagne completed.
Corliss claims that Finn shares a lot of similar traits with Bretagne. She relaxes with her back legs in a frog-like position, and she carries a bag of treats when she’s hungry. Both of which were quirks that Bretagne was known for. Every small memory of Bretagne is a way for Corliss to feel close to the late Golden Retriever. Just because Bretagne left this world doesn’t mean she will ever stop making a difference.