According to the Today show, the Golden Retriever was suffering due to old age.
A video posted to YouTube showed more than a dozen firefighters lined up outside of the veterinary clinic, giving Bretagne a final hero’s salute as she entered the facility. They saluted Bretagne again as she left the animal hospital, her body covered in an American flag.
A release from Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service broke the news, detailing Bretagne’s many achievements.
Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”) and her handler Denise Corliss were deployed with other members of Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) to Ground Zero for 10 days in 2001. After that, Bretagne responded to nearly a dozen other disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ivan.
Bretagne eventually stopped formal search and rescue work at age 9 and was cared for by her handler and owner Corliss.
The pup still racked up an impressive list of accomplishments even in her retirement. She volunteered as a reading assistance dog at an elementary school, became a star of a non-fiction book about senior dogs, was nominated for a Hero Dog Award by the American Humane Association, and even met with former President George H.W. Bush.
She also starred in an extremely cute viral video detailing her sixteenth birthday in New York City.
According to Today, Corliss noticed Bretagne began experiencing kidney failure and slowing down. When the dog failed to eat for three days, she knew it was time.
“She was really anxious last night and she just wanted to be with me,” Corliss told Today on Monday. “So I laid down with her, right next to her. When she could feel me, she could settle down and go to sleep. I slept with her like that all night.”
Texas Task Force 1 shared pictures of Bretagne on Facebook and shared a message.
“Rest in peace girl. We have it from here.”