Reflecting on 9/11

This weekend marks ten years since the horrific events of September 11, 2001, and I will be traveling to Liberty State Park across from Ground Zero with AVMA President Dr. Rene Carlson. She and I will attend a tribute event honoring the 9-11 Search and Rescue Dog teams and the VMATs and veterinarians who supported them. Several of the VMAT members who responded in 2001 also will be present.

For nearly two months following the tragedy, 51 VMAT volunteers provided countless hours of veterinary medical care and support to about 300 remarkable search and rescue dogs and their human partners working at Ground Zero. Their work was tireless, though at the same time both emotionally and physically exhausting.

Regardless of where you were or how you may have supported the response efforts of 9/11 each of us has been changed forever. For many of us, these events led to a deeper appreciation for our freedom and our country.

This weekend we will express our gratitude and appreciation for the VMAT volunteers and all others who served and continue to serve this great nation, while also once again mourning the immeasurable loss the nation suffered on 9/11. The September 15 issue of JAVMA has a terrific article on the Search and Rescue dog teams of 9/11, and the response activities of VMAT, and I encourage you to read it as you commemorate 9/11 in your own way.

4 thoughts on “Reflecting on 9/11

  1. Heather. . . Thank you for recognizing VMAT and the hardwork that all members do. I served with you during Katrina at Lamar-Dixon and still to this day remember VMAT very fondly and all the work that we did. It was an incredible experience and I will always remember working alongside you. Hope you remember me. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments. You have gone a long way!

  2. Thank you Dr. Case for the recognition of the VMAT volunteers and the Working dogs who were a part of the disaster response. I also enjoyed the recount by Dr. Carlson of the tribute event.

    I follow this blog and website due to my interest in Pet First Aid, however was motivated to comment today in gratitude.

  3. This was an amazing event. Thanks to Dr. Heather Case, I was invited to speak at this 10th Anniversary Tribute to the Working Dogs, Veterinarians, and VMATs that served for weeks after the 9/11 attacks. There were so many highlights:
    – the Manhattan skyline in the background with the new Freedom Tower under construction
    – hearing Lt. David Lim, Port Authority Police Officer at the World Trade Towers, tell his sad story of survival in one of the stairwells as the tower collapsed; his dog partner, Sirius, who was an explosive detection dog and “his best friend”, died that day when that tower collapsed after Lt. Lim temporarily placed him in his kennel to check out the alert when the plane hit the tower;
    – seeing Dr. Cynthia Otto receive a painting of Sirius from Lt. Lim for her work with monitoring the health of the Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs and the PennVet Working Dog Center;
    – seeing three Sirius Courage Awards given to:
    1) SGT Zainah Caye Creamer (posthumously)who was the first female miliary dog handler to die in action when an IED exploded while serving in Afghanistan,
    2) to her surviving working dog, Jofa, and to
    3) Petty Officer 1st Class John Douangdara and his canine partner Bart (posthumously), assigned to an East Coast Seal team, who were both killed on August 6, 2011 in the helicopter crash that killed 29 other American service members.
    – seeing the dozens of working dogs from several different Emergency Response Teams and Therapy dogs who offered comfort to the search and rescue workers; and
    – recognizing the work of local veterinarians and the VMATs for their work at 9/11 and all the other times they are needed in disaster response.
    What an honor to represent AVMA at this memorable event! Dr. Case, can you post a few of those photos to this blog and to the FB page?

  4. Could you share the information you obtain from the event (i.e. photos)? Not everyone was invited to the event. I write for as the Newark Pet Health Examiner and would like to share some pictures with my audience as well as with Animal Control Officers, some of who served at 9/11 as firefighters/police officers but could not make the event or were not invited. I will give you credit for the photos. Thank you in advance.