Red, A Search and Rescue Dog from 9/11 Receives Stem Cell Therapy

Search and Rescue DogRed, a search and rescue dog who’s job is to save lives, including those from the Pentagon on 9/11 and as well as in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, received a treatment to help her become mobile again in about four to six weeks.

Heather Roche, Red’s handler said, “I got her as a puppy. You have to convince her everything that she does, whether it’s climbing ladders or any kind of search, that it’s her idea.  So she made me a much better trainer.  Then she discovered that if she finds people, she gets hot dogs.  No matter what I’ve asked her to do, she’s done it and she’s done it flawlessly.  For a quirky little dog, she’s done it all.”

Red’s first assignment was being a search and rescue dog for 9/11 at the Pentagon. She was to find DNA evidence at the Pentagon’s north parking lot with 26 other dogs at that time. She continued on with years of search and rescue missions, but fell from a 12-foot ladder and developed arthritis. Due to her arthritis and immobility, she was forced to retire from her search and rescue job in July.

“The last few months, she would like to be a couch potato but she can’t even get on the couch any more. It would be nice if she could do those kinds of things that she misses,” Roche said.

Dr. John Herrity of Burke Animal Clinic in Burke, Va., told Fox News, “Red has a back issue that, after a fall from a ladder, has not really been right, and has been living in pain, so we’re going to give those stem cells IV (intravenously) and then also inject them along the back to try to help Red’s comfort.”

The rescue dog underwent surgery on Monday to use Red’s own stem cells to regenerate and replace the damaged tissue with new tissue. Dr. John Herrity says he did the stem cell treatment on his own dog about a year and a half ago. Since that time, he has treated two more search and rescue dogs from 9/11.

Dr. John Herrity at the Burke Animal Clinic said, “This is a small something that we can give back as a way of saying thanks for what you guys have done for us. We are just taking fat from Red’s side and then we are going to spin it down, process it, extract the stem cells from there.”

Red a 12-year old black lab from Annapolis. Medivet America donated the cost of the procedure and while the treatment won’t bring Red back out of retirement, she will at least be able to get mobility back and no longer be in such pain. “Hopefully in about 2-3 months, she will be more comfortable, moving around, wanting to play more,” said Dr. Herrity.

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