Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. was joined by New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino at the dedication of the Essex County Search and Rescue Dog Statue last month at the Essex County Eagle Rock September 11th Memorial in West Orange. The statue commemorates the role that dogs had in the search and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center and Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks.
“We can never forget the devastation and destruction that occurred during the attacks on September 11, 2001,” said DiVincenzo. “Expanding our 9/11 Memorial is our way of recognizing the many lives that were lost, the futures of so many that were changed and the different segments of public safety that came to help. In our lives, dogs become part of our family, are trusted friends and played an integral role in the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero and the Pentagon. This statue will ensure their contributions during that ordeal are always remembered.”
Porrino added, “Today we pay tribute to the roughly 350 search and rescue dogs that worked tireless hours trying to locate survivors amid the twisted pile of steel beams, concrete and ash where the World Trade Center once stood, in addition to the Pentagon. During those harrowing efforts, various handlers stated they were so grateful to have a canine partner just to help them get through it.”
The bronze Canine Statue is about four feet tall. The base of the statue on which the dog stands is designed to resemble the rubble at Ground Zero. The statue and the base, which weigh about 5,000 pounds, sit on a one-foot tall block of granite.
Sculptor Jay Warren from Oregon designed the Canine Statue. Warren also has worked with Essex County to design statues such as Governor Brendan Byrne, Congressman Donald Payne and Rosa Parks.
Artist Harry Gordon from Lambertville designed the base. The statue and installation was funded through corporate contributions.
“The space honors the fallen and brave, and now it recognized the role dogs had in the aftermath of 9/11,” said Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. “Once again, the County Executive has displayed incredible vision.”
Sheriff Armando Fontoura said law enforcement has benefited from great advances in technology, but successful police work is still measured “by boots on the ground and today the officers are often accompanied by their four-legged friends.” The Sheriff noted that dogs from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office worked at Ground Zero as well as patrolled other neighborhoods in New York City in the aftermath searching for reported explosive devices.
“I want to thank County Executive DiVincenzo for remembering the rescue dogs for what they did after 9/11 and for what they do every day,” Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said. “Search dogs covered 16 acres of land at Ground Zero covered with metal and debris, and went where humans could not go. This is a fitting way to remember how many families gained some sort of closure because of the work by dogs.”
A plaque next to the statue begins with a quote from 18th century English poet Alexander Pope: “Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.”
The Essex County Eagle Rock September 11th Memorial was dedicated in October 2002, just more than a year after the attacks. Its many elements pay tribute to the men and women, police officers, firefighters and other first responders who lost their lives at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, in Pennsylvania and aboard the four airplanes that crashed that day.