9/11’s Furry Heroes

9/11’s Furry Heroes

A child's drawing sent to canine responders. Collection 9/11 Memorial Museum, Gifts of the American Red Cross and Frank Shane and K-9 Partner Nikie.

In the hours and days following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of people arrived at the crash sites to help in the response. It is estimated that more than 300 working dogs aided in the search, rescue, recovery or therapy work at Ground Zero. These furry responders worked courageously and tirelessly alongside their handlers searching for survivors and human remains while providing comfort to victims’ family members and relief to rescue workers.

These four-legged heroes are honored in “Dogs of 9/11,” an art installation now on view in the Education Center. Through art, this exhibition remembers the service and dedication of these responders. Here’s a glimpse of some of the pieces you will see on view.


Sirius, the four-year-old Labrador Retriever, had a highly trained nose. He and his partner, PAPD officer David Lim, were in the basement of the South Tower when Flight 11 struck the North Tower. Securing Sirius in his kennel, Lim went to investigate the disruption, telling his partner, "I'll be back for you." Sirius was the only police dog killed in the attacks. Artist Ron Burns painted this portrait of Sirius from photos provided by Lim.

Sirius, 2001
Ron Burns (American, b. 1954)
Acrylic on canvas
Collection 9/11 Memorial Museum, Gift of Run and Buff Burns


Deplored with New Jersey Task Force 1, Anna, a German shepherd, and Sarah Atlas, her handler, arrived at the World Trade Center site on Sept. 11, 2001. Atlas and Anna worked in the search and rescue effort at Ground Zero until Sept. 20. After the dog’s death in 2002, Sue Sanders, an artist in New Jersey, sewed and painted a quilt in Anna’s memory.

Anna, 2002
Sue Sanders (American, b. 1934)
Fabric with acrylic
Collection 9/11 Memorial Museum, Gift of Drunell Levinson and of the contributors to the September 11 Quilts Memorial Exhibition