Trakr, An American Hero Dog, Located Survivors of Sept. 11 Attacks

Posted by Christy Caplan
9/11 dog

Almost 19 years ago, search and rescue teams were sent to the World Trade Center, which collapsed September 11, 2001. Nearly 10,000 emergency rescue workers joined the efforts and 300 of those were dogs. 

A hero dog named Trakr found the last survivor of the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center.

Trakr: The Sept. 11 search and rescue dog hero

According to Veterinary Product News, Trakr's job was search and rescue. He was bred and trained in the Czech Republic and had joined the Halifax, Nova Scotia, police force as Symington's K9 partner in 1995 at 14 months old. Trakr had an illustrious six-year career apprehending felons, recovering lost persons, and detecting more than $1 million of contraband.

Halifax police policy was to euthanasia K9s when they retired. Symington filed a formal objection to the policy. He wanted Trakr to grow old with him. (Can you even believe that police dogs wouldn't be allowed to live with families after they retire?)

Trakr was retired early, and Symington was demoted with the police department, which forced a stress leave. Eventually, he was allowed to keep the dog. They were best friends!

When Symington saw the news of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he and Trakr and a police officer friend drove 15 hours to be one of the first K9 search and rescue teams to arrive at New York City's ground zero.

His rescue efforts went above and beyond. In addition to locating numerous victims, Trakr led a rescue team to unearth the last survivor, Genelle Guzman. She had fled from the 64th to the 13th floor before the South Tower collapsed. She suffered crushing leg injuries and was buried for 28 hours beneath 23 feet of rubble.

This dog Trakr worked at ground zero until he collapsed from smoke inhalation.

Trakr died at 14 years old

In his later years, Trakr suffered from degenerative myelopathy and lost use of his hind legs. Some experts attributed the condition to inhaling smoke at the World Trade Center site. Symington took Trakr to Pawspice, a California end-of-life organization that serves as the equivalent of a hospice for pets and an animal oncology consultation service. Pawspice outfitted Trakr with a cart so that he could power himself with his front legs.

Trakr died in April 2009, at age 14.

Is Trakr a cloneworthy dog? His owner James Symington thinks so! The owner hoped these cloned puppies would have the same attributes as Trakr.

Trakr has 5 clones

People reported that Trakr's owner received five puppies in 2009, the clones of his late rescue dog, Trakr, who located the last human survivor in the rubble following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York.

"The dogs were given to the Los Angeles-based Symington by biotech company BioArts International after he entered an essay contest in 2008 in which he explained why Trakr was worthy of cloning."

Everyone in New York will never forget seeing these hero dogs every day as they went to work after the 9/11 attacks. Some of the breeds were German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers. Some specialized in finding human remains or trained as search and rescue dogs. Many participated in the rescue operations for many months following the attacks.

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Trakr, An American Hero Dog, Located Survivors of Sept. 11 Attacks