"Worf" located the bodies of two missing firefighters the first day. Overwhelmed, he lay down and curled up on the spot. The dog began shedding profusely, quit eating and refused to play with other dogs. His partner Mike Owens made the decision to retire the 12-year-old German Shepherd from search-and-rescue duty permanently. They are now back at home in Monroe, Ohio, where the entire town takes turns petting and playing with Worf.
"He kind of withdrew from everything. There was so much death there, it was emotional for the dogs."
Awake or asleep, these dogs are constantly at work, mending wounded spirits and providing an undying source of morale. There's not a single veteran of "the pile" who will deny that dogs are providing just as much emotional support as technical guidance.
Even the dogs were invited. The flag-draped steel column was carried off site past an honor guard of police officers, firefighters—and not to be overlooked though they are small in stature—loyal dogs who were there up until the very end.