Local News

Pets, Veterinarians Part Of WTC Cleanup, Recovery

Posted November 9, 2001

— Sunday will mark the two month anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Firefighters and rescue crews have been working overtime at the rubble of the World Trade Center, but search dogs have also played a critical role in the cleanup.

Dr. Mary Ann McBride was one of three people from Raleigh on the Veterinary Medical Assistance Team, which was called to aid the working dogs at the rubble of the World Trade Center.

The dogs were given a decontamination bath and thorough exam after every trip through the debris. She said the dogs are extremely smart.

"I kind of liken these dogs to those as if the dogs at the foot of our beds went to high school, these dogs went on to college and then got a Ph.D.," she said.

Not all the dogs were highly trained; many were there strictly to comfort.

"To see the police officers and firemen who were working on site come over and give a golden retriever a great big hug and get a good stress relief meant a lot to us," McBride said.

Dr. Tom McGinn helped a Persian cat when it was found 18 days after the attack.

"We took him into the human hospital, put him on a human gurney and gave it fluids," he said.

Kim Cash, a veterinary technician, recalled when a monk came to bless the cross that came out of the ruins.

"He blessed the handlers and the dogs as well as the VMAT personnel that were taking care of the dogs that day, so it was very rewarding because it was a moment I'll never forget -- being blessed with the holy water with the NYPD dogs," she said.

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