The Dogs

I don’t really even like dogs much, but this story about the search and rescue dogs tells so much of the real story of what went on.

First, that 100 dogs were on the scene, seeking tirelessly for weeks afterwards. They found almost no one alive, poor kids.

Second, that it has been 10 years, which means only 12 of those brave dogs are still alive. And they are all getting on in years, looking a little bit like tired but happy warriors in those portraits.

That is what it meant. It meant that these dogs and their owners tried in vain to do some good. It meant we all waited, god, and hoped, that maybe there would be some good news. We saw portraits of frustration and hope, like that one of the doctor at St. Vincent’s that will always be etched in my memory. I did find this other one – of all that talent, all that equipment, at the ready. Look at how beautiful the weather is. What you can’t see in any photo is the smell we all lived with, every day, day in & day out, for months. How there’d be a day when it was fine, and the wind would change, and then there it would be again. No one who was there will ever forget that smell.

But mostly what I remember is reading that the steel workers and other emergency workers started hiding themselves in the rubble so that the search & rescue dogs wouldn’t get too downhearted, so that they would bark happily about having done their job well, & everyone could say “good dog” because fuck if we didn’t all desperately need to.

That is what it was like: we are a tough bunch of assholes in New York with the tenderest, most loyal hearts.