On Sept. 11, 2001, the Fire Department of New York’s Ladder 20 lost seven of its members who raced to the 35th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center before the building collapsed. Yesterday, they lost the dog who helped the survivors cope.
Twenty, a Dalmatian puppy given to the department shortly after 9/11 by two Rochester, New York sheriffs in honor of the first responders killed, passed away on Tuesday, the FDNY announced on Facebook.
“She really helped to build the morale in the years following 9/11,” Lieutenant Gary Lorio says. “I can’t say enough about what she did to help us.”
Lorio added that Twenty accompanied the firefighters on all their "runs" and liked to stick her head out the truck window and bark. Other current and former members of Ladder 20 and their spouses joined in on the conversation on social media (see below) to discuss their memories of the Dalmatian living up to the reputation Lorio said she had as a “local celebrity.”
“My next door neighbor, Sandra R., is one of the Monroe Co. Sheriffs who showed up with this puppy,” one woman replied. “I met this puppy before she went to NYC. I remember Sandra telling me about the flight to NYC: Twenty was in a puppy carrier in the cabin, the flight attendants found out where she was headed and why, and she became a celebrity on that flight.”
For nearly 15 years, she served the department, playing with the members’ children and keeping the firefighters company. One former member even remembers getting sound advice from a department member when he joined the Ladder: "See that dog over there? She has more time here than you do. Don't forget it."
Others remember her hard work and loyalty. “It was awesome to watch her jump into that truck. She walked around the fire station like she owned it, and I guess she did! Probably the only firefighter that truly never went home,” a woman wrote.
“Twenty has taken her final run to Heaven,” Lorio said. “Rest in peace, man’s best friend.”
Dalmatians are smart, loyal, and loving companions. Learn more about the breed here. If you think this breed is right for you, check out the AKC Marketplace for Dalmatian puppies.