rescuing each other

I have dreaded writing about 9/11. Like each of you, I remember precisely where I was this date in 2001 when the world was normal and where I was tomorrow when everything changed. Al and I had escaped to Las Vegas for the weekend–blackjack for him and a tour of Hoover Dam for me–and were to have flown back to Denver the Tuesday of the attacks.

With time and travel stopped, we coped. I cried. We called Kate and his boys, assuring all was well and we’d be back as soon as the airport reopened or rental cars became available. Shopping centers were closed. The casinos were eerily quiet. Each time the tears returned, Al would say, “Get your shoes. Let’s walk.” And we did, miles without saying anything until his two feet were badly blistered. On Friday, we caught one of the first flights home.

During those same days, 100 dogs and their handlers were  four-footing their way through the devastated NYC towers, searching for survivors and those who hadn’t.  They came from 18 states, and they worked around the clock. Photos of these furred heroes appeared regularly throughout newscasts and feature pieces.

As those of us who love dogs learn painfully, their lives are never long enough. And whether you subscribe to the 7×1 dog-year math or not, a decade’s time has diminished the numbers of 9/11 dogs significantly. Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas decided the final 15 should be honored, once again, at this milestone.  And Retrieved is the result. It was released yesterday by The Ice Plant.

In writing of the profiled dugs and the images she captured, Dumas says, “‘They speak to us as a different species and animals are greatly important — [they enhance] our sense of empathy and [teach us] to put things into perspective.”

Empathy and perspective.

On this day, I gratefully accept both.


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