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ASPCA Honors Dogs And Handlers Involved In WTC Rescue Effort

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Canines who served on the front lines after September 11 received top honors Tuesday afternoon at the ASPCA’s annual award ceremony.

The ASPCA recognized dog search and rescue teams, pet therapy organizations, veterinarians and volunteers for their efforts. NY1’s Jeff Simmons filed this report.

They were the K-9s on the front lines - the squad of search and rescue dogs who have searched for the living and the dead since September 11.

Those dogs had their day Tuesday, when the ASPCA presented them — and their handlers — with top honors at its 15th annual award ceremony.

"The search and rescue dogs were absolutely critical in the whole scheme of finding either survivors or remains,” said ASPCA President Larry Hawk, “and I think it put to peace a lot of families who lost loved ones in that disaster."

The ASPCA used the ceremony to recognize those who made a difference that day and in the weeks and months to follow, including Port Authority Officer David Lim, who lost his dog Sirius in the attacks.

"Sirius was a big mush,” Lim said. “He was always affectionate and loving. He lived at home with us, so my family got very attached to him."

Lim, who is now is paired with another dog named Sprig, trumpeted the efforts of all the heroes — especially the K-9 kind.

"We lost a lot of police officers, firefighters and civilians, of course, and sometimes a dog gets lost in the shuffle,” Lim said. “Today, he’s at the top of the pile."

Actress Mary Tyler Moore received the group's Lifetime Achievement Award for her tireless work to prevent cruelty to animals. She also praised the dogs and their handlers for their work.

"I just so admire them and their trainers, and the way they were able to work together," Moore said.

Many people contributed in different ways to the rescue efforts, including city officials; goups that provided dogs and cats to comfort the grieving; veterinarians who tended to the ill; law enforcement agents who helped Downtown residents retrieve their pets; and volunteers who went the extra mile.

Hawk, who lost his sister Cathy, a flight attendant, in the attacks, was also honored for his tireless efforts.

"My sister was a flight attendant on American,” he said. “Cathy was a kind and loving person. She had a soft spot in her heart for animals. It was something our parents taught us; it was part of how we were raised. And as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, we can all make a difference in this world."

It’s a difference that continues to this day.

"We're still down there,” said Peter Davis of the NYPD's K-9 Unit. “We were still looking for everybody, still hoping to recover a lot more people.

"He puts 100 percent into this," Davis said of his dog. "He did wonderful work down there." ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP