Within minutes of the first strike, the Internet was buzzing with e-mail reports, requests for help, and responses. It was still the early days of e-mail. There was no Facebook, no Twitter. Some of the old online services like AOL were still central gathering places for people. But e-mail was coming into its heyday.
There were also rumors and misinformation. But overall, the benefits far outweighed the disadvantages.
Here’s a sampling of the e-mails that were flying around during that first week after September 11th.
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“A friend is looking for homes for three dogs whose people were killed today in the plane crash. If you know of anyone or have any ideas, please pass them on to me. Thanks. Her Rottie is a real lap dog named Sasha. The German shepherd, Jesse, is a great, well-behaved dog who is always letting Sasha get her own way. The third dog is also a German shepherd who is 14 or 15 years old but seems to be alive just to play with the other two dogs. We are looking for a new home where they can all go together.” – Robyn
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This just in on the Wisconsin Animal Rescue list: “The search and rescue dogs in New York are in need of boots/booties and first aid supplies. They are going through them like wildfire. They are in serious need as they are using burlap and duct tape. God bless you for your help, and God bless America!”
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“I am an active duty Marine and have a big concern. I have 10 cats and two dogs that will not have a home if we go to war. If I were to deploy, could I bring my animals to you as a foster home until my return? I would send payment for their care and maintenance. As our president has ordered us to prepare for war, I need to address this situation immediately. Any assistance or information would be greatly appreciated.” – D.M.B.
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“There is a situation in NY sent to us from the NYPetiCare Group. One of their volunteers is missing from the 106th floor of the WTC. She has 23 cats, some feral, living inside [back at her home], and two dogs. Is this something you or your group could help with? Please let me know. Thanks for all you are doing for the animals.”
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“Police are allowing access to people whose animals are trapped in evacuated buildings in the area around the World Trade Center. If you or anyone you know has any nonhuman companion left behind in the area, please go down and retrieve them immediately.”
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“I live about two hours south of New York City. I am trying to respond to www.NYpeticare.com to let them know I am available to foster two dogs, if needed. The problem I am having is that I can’t get my e-mail to go through. Can you please forward this email to the appropriate persons?” – T.M.
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“Yes – We would very much like to help. I think between myself and the other house we could probably take in at least 10 to 12 cats, depending on the situation. If several can live together, we can take more. We always separate cats from different situations in order to avoid any diseases, so we are very careful and very clean. I will also contact my rescue group to see if anyone else has any room.” – Alissa
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“I’ve been trying to reach places that could send dog booties and have found amazing people out there. Pets&Pals.com out of Seattle had boots to send, and when I tried to order, they wouldn’t accept any payment. They’re sending all the available booties they have for free. Others are now doing the same. Please let the appropriate people know that boots are on the way!”
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“I live five minutes from the WTC, so I’ve been really isolated (and more than a little panicked) for the past week. (I’m at a friend’s accessing my e-mail – I have no phone/Internet service.) Fortunately the colony of street cats I look after and keep an eye on are all accounted for and thriving, if a little bewildered.” – M.W.
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“Gave out all the Web sites you gave me, after checking them out, to all of our firm today– 500-plus people. Suffolk SPCA, which I called, said donations are pouring in, that of the 8,000 to 9,000 affected apartments in the area, the pets had to survive eight to nine days on their own. All made it, he said, except for some birds.” – Sal
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“It appears that what people thought were stray cats who had escaped from apartments with shattered windows were actually feral cats that had always been there. With round the clock rescue teams working under Klieg lights, these cats who normally went about their rounds at night unnoticed were now being seen. The colony at Battery Park, which is inside the restricted area, were all found to be well cared for and ear-tipped. Terri Crisp, of E.A.R.S., documented this but no one from the media took note.” – Mike Phillips, Neighborhood Cats
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“35 years ago I attended high school in what was then a sleepy desert town. One of the students, a couple grades below me, was a boy named Michael Hingson, who had been blind since birth. I didn’t know him well, but would stop to say hi to him and his guide dog and was impressed by how plucky he was and how resourceful in coping with his disability. I never saw him again after graduating. Michael now lives in NJ and was at work in his office on the 78th floor of the WTC with his newest guide dog, Roselle. I can’t imagine the courage it took for a blind man and his guide dog to make it alive out of the horror, but they did. Roselle is a hero, a credit to her species and to all the guide dogs who serve with such devotion and bravery.” – Sue
A special tribute
Heroes in all shapes, sizes, and breeds
The dogs and their people who risked their lives to save others
Meet One of the Dog Teams
“We were a team, and if something wasn’t safe for the dogs, we would say.”
Pier 40: Heart of the Operation
How the animal rescue teams came together
The Four-Legged Heroes
How Dorado led his blind person to safety
Search & Rescue, Canine Style
The Suffolk Country crew sets up the MASH unit
Where Are They Now?
The dogs of 9/11 – 10 years later
Pets in Peril
Tweety-Pye gets left behind
Diary of a K-9 Team
Paul Morgan and Cody join the FEMA team
Preparing for Animal Care in a Disaster
A few quick tips to help keep you safe
If You’re an Animal Organization
Working together to build an emergency coalition
A Snapshot of the E-mails
“I am an active duty Marine. My 10 cats and 2 dogs will not have a home if we go to war...”
A Memorial Roster
Many of the dogs who worked at Ground Zero suffered serious health problems and passed away in the years that followed.
A preview to radio talk-show host Steve Dale’s book called Dog Heroes of September 11th: A Tribute to America's Search and Rescue Dogs.
A Photo Diary
A good click-through photo story of the dogs at Ground Zero.
Posted September 6, 2011, by MichaelMountain