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Search and rescue dogs from 9/11 reunited in powerful photo series


Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas has reunited the search and rescue dogs who helped to retrieve survivors from the wreckage of the 9/11 disaster in a moving photo series.

Following the horrific collapse of the World Trade Centre in New York, over 100 dogs were brought in to help find people buried beneath the rubble.

Charlotte Dumas remembers the striking images of the dogs searching amongst the disaster site - some for so long that they received eye drops when they became tired - and wanted to find out what had happened to the dogs afterwards. She wrote on her website that: "the dogs searched and comforted, they gave consolation to anyone involved. Seeing these pictures, I was also comforted. They somehow emanated a spark of hope amidst this scene of destruction."

Bailey, from Franklin, Tennessee. Photo: Charlotte Dumas

The dogs had been brought in to work on the site by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from all over the United States because of the scale of the disaster. After survivors had been rescued, they returned to their home states across the country.

Ten years on, Charlotte wanted to find out what had happened to the dogs after the disaster. "These animals were all at the same place at the same time, one decade ago, for the same reason: to work. That experience unites them, and was the incentive for me to pursue this subject and to photograph the dogs", she wrote.

Bretagne, from Cypress, Texas. Photo: Charlotte Dumas

Through FEMA she managed to track down 15 of the 100 dogs, the majority of whom have now retired, but still live with the handlers who worked with them throughout their careers.

The result is her photo series Retrieved, picturing the dogs in their old age, but capturing their brave and dignified attitude, united by their noble work. "They now share the vulnerability of old age while symbolizing a full decade coming to a close", Charlotte wrote.

The series moved both dog owners and those affected by 9/11, and is now available to buy as a book from Charlotte's website and Amazon. Scroll down to see more of the dogs:

Merlyn, from Otis, Colorado. Photo: Charlotte Dumas

Orion, from Vacaville, California. Photo: Charlotte Dumas

Abigail, from Ojai, California. Photo: Charlotte Dumas

Guinness, from Highland, California. Photo: Charlotte Dumas

Words: Victoria Gray, Images: Charlotte Dumas



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