March 01, 2002


 New York State VMS pays tribute to veterinary response after terrorist attack

Posted Feb. 15, 2002 

Tsunami with Hal and Marilyn

On Nov. 2, 2001, during its NY2K Veterinary Conference, the New York State VMS paid tribute to the hundreds of veterinarians and veterinary technicians who volunteered their time and talent by treating more than 600 rescue dogs at ground zero in New York following the terrorist attack.

Those present for the tribute were Drs. Barbara Kalvig and James M. Shorter from Manhattan, who were among the first veterinarians on site; Dr. Dennis Dougherty of VMAT-1; and Dr. John Charos from the Long Island VMA.

Also in attendance was Tsunami, a two-year-old black German Shepherd Dog, accompanied by her owners, Marilyn and Hal Wilson. On the morning of Sept. 12, Hal and Tsunami joined their friends, Paul Morgan and Cody Bear, a Golden Retriever, and rode the train to New York from Long Island to help with the rescue efforts.

NYSVMS Executive Director Julie Lawton noted that for three and a half hours, Tsunami and Cody Bear were the only search-and-rescue dogs at ground zero. They spent 12 hours crawling through wreckage and under debris and between them, located three bodies and indicated when no bodies were present so work could focus on other locations.

In his comments that evening, NYSVMS 2001 President Francis Kallfelz paid special notice of the work of the VMA of New York City, the Long Island VMA, the Suffolk County SPCA, the ASPCA, and The Animal Medical Center. Lawton noted that the LIVMA's disaster preparedness plan was put into effect just hours after the attack, and its members provided the backbone of veterinary care in the initial response. The Suffolk County SPCA's surgical bus served as the base for veterinary care, she added.

"The response of the veterinary community and dogs like Tsunami and Cody Bear, along with Hal and Paul, was immediate, strong, helpful, and compassionate," Lawton said."The NYSVMS is proud of their work and thanks them for their outstanding service."