No Boots, No Helmet, No Armor

… Only a Sense of Duty and Devotion

When the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001, nearly 10,000 emergency rescue workers joined in the efforts to help.  300 of those heroes were dogs.  These dogs were trained for search and rescue, dogs trained to sniff bombs, and dogs trained to help comfort and heal — they dutifully set about the task of helping out their human friends.

Every day across the world dogs protect, comfort, and give their unconditional friendship and affection to the ill, the infirm, the wounded veteran, and the frightened child.   It’s time to recognize the contributions of man’s best friends and celebrate the heroic feats they have performed for us every day.” ~ Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of the American Humane Association

The dogs worked tirelessly to search for anyone trapped alive in the rubble, along with countless emergency service workers and members of the public.  Traveling across nine states in the U.S. from Texas to Maryland, Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas 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.

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.  ‘I felt this was a turning point, especially for the dogs, who although are not forgotten, are not as prominent as the human stories involved.’

Only 12 of the 300 brave and devoted dogs remain today.  These are their faces and a small glimpse into how they served so willingly.


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The thing about a hero, is even when it doesn’t look like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, he’s going to keep digging.  He’s going to keep trying to do right and make up for what’s gone wrong.  Just because that’s who he is.  – Joss Whedon

National Hug Your Hound Day!

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” ― Dean Koontz, False Memory

Did you know that there is a national day to hug your hound?   Well today is the day!

However, if you live with a beloved companion dog, you don’t need a national holiday to remind you how amazing their hugs and cuddles can be, but some days it’s great to be reminded of how much we need it. 

soldier dogs and soldiers veterans

National Hug Your Hound Day is celebrated annually on September 8th.  Although today is an unofficial national holiday, it was created by Ami Moore, author and Canine Behaviorist, for a very specific reason.   Ami wants to make America more “pup friendly”, as it is in Europe and other areas around the globe.  Her goal is to see companion dogs accepted in more public places, such as taxis, malls and restaurants.  She also hopes that today will help dog guardians to appreciate the companionship our dogs give us, and the value of it, both emotionally and physically.

therapy dogs healing pets

National Hug Your Hound Day is not only a day dedicated to recognizing the value of our canine companions, but it’s an opportunity to truly observe your dog from their point of view.  As you celebrate and honor your furry friend and family member today, take a moment to spend a little extra time with your canine companion.  Make a point to connect with them.  By making the effort we can learn to see into their environment and their everyday life.  We can learn to get on their level and make sure their home environment is comforting, inviting, and safe.

Saying Goodbye: My brother Jason giving Hocus Pocus a huge Uncle hug before he left for China
Saying Goodbye: My brother Jason giving Hocus Pocus a huge Uncle Jason hug before he left for China this year

I’d like to leave you with a slide show of a few of my favorite images of animals hugging hounds

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