During the recovery period at the World Trade Center site, Frank Shane, a certified trauma responder working in Mental Health Services, and Nikie, a K-9 Disaster Relief therapy dog, would visit respite areas to comfort workers who toiled to clear the wreckage. Nikie was not only a source of comfort, but also what Shane calls a “transitional object” that helped pull people out of the mental and emotional burden of their work at Ground Zero. Nikie became a very important presence at the site. Shane and Nikie worked at Ground Zero until the site was cleared and even participated in the Last Column ceremony by handing out flags to recovery workers.
After Nikie passed away in August 2004, Shane donated his therapy vest and dog booties, still stained from working on the site, to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The items are now displayed in a section of the historical exhibition that documents the recovery period after 9/11. During the Museum’s dedication period last week, Shane, with his new therapy dog, Chance, visited the display dedicated to Nikie, his Ground Zero therapy dog who helped to restore a bit of peace and normalcy to the lives of many.
By Margaret Barng, 9/11 Memorial Deputy Communications Manager