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by Maxine Weber, Volunteer

I sit at my desk listening to the sounds of children playing in the school yard behind my house. On a beautiful September afternoon, the sound of them happily playing some version of tag or chase can get so loud that I sometimes have to close my window if someone calls on the phone. It is a happy, innocent noise and so my window closing is one of a practical matter; I am not annoyed. I can not be annoyed because I remember a similar beautiful September afternoon, thirteen years ago, when there was no noise at all in the schoolyard. There were no sounds of planes flying overhead (my house is on the flight path of planes approaching the Philadelphia airport).  In fact, there were no noises at all in my neighborhood. On September 11, 2001, we were all sitting quietly in our houses, watching the news and trying to comprehend the tragedy that unfolded earlier that morning.

Most of us who are old enough, will never forget that day; the question of “what were you doing the morning of 9-11?” eventually comes up in conversation. I remember reading that the search dogs were getting frustrated because they were unable to find survivors. Their years of training did not prepare Thunder, Morgan, Logan (for whom our WDC puppies are named in honor) or any of the other search dogs for the level of frustration they encountered that day.

Thirteen years later we have all become less naïve about our global neighbors. Luckily we have tried to prepare ourselves better for the unexpected, including continued improvement in training methods for search and rescue dogs. So my thanks go out to Dr. Otto, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center and this next generation of Thunders, Morgans and Logans. May their efforts enable the children in all school yards play happily every afternoon.

Maxine is one of our dedicated volunteers and will be a contributing blogger, giving readers insight to the daily life at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.