Huggable by Children: Replicas of Dogs That Searched 9/11 Ruins
By David E. Dunlap, The New York Times
Shoppers on the lookout for something new, unusual and uniquely New York will find plush 9/11 search-and-rescue puppies on sale opposite ground zero. In time for Christmas: plush versions of the puppies that helped search ground zero are for sale.
Yes, it is a child’s version of the dogs that were taken to the ruins of the World Trade Center after Sept. 11, 2001, to search for survivors. And human remains.
The 8-inch-tall doe-eyed puppies, which cost $11.95, wear blue T-shirts with two offset squares symbolizing the voids left by the twin towers. That logo — in essence, the World Trade Center brand — also appears on human-size T-shirts, polo shirts, baseball caps and coffee mugs for sale in the Tribute Center at 120 Liberty Street. The proceeds help pay the center’s operating costs.
The private, nonprofit Tribute Center, which opened in September, is the first and only visitors’ center at ground zero. With evocative galleries and guided tours, it stresses “person to person history.” Or, in the case of the stuffed animals, “puppy to person history.”
Lynn Tierney, the president of the center, witnessed those desperate days after the attack firsthand as a deputy fire commissioner. She makes no apology for casting them in terms a child might understand. “Those of us who were there understand the impact that the presence of these dogs had,” she said. “Their job is noble and necessary. Their handlers are extraordinary people. This is a way of paying tribute to them.”