Remembering 9/11 — years later

Remembering 9/11 — years later

Muttluks has a long history of helping people and dogs in need. Muttluks provides boots for working dogs, Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs or disabled dogs through the Muttluks Woof Wish Program. Muttluks boots were donated for SAR dogs in the Oklahoma bombing, 9/11, the Tsunami in Japan and the earth quake in Ecuador. The company has a disaster relief action plan set up with the Red Cross to enable quick and efficient delivery of boots to SAR dogs in disaster relief situations globally.

Ground Zero - 9/11 - Muttluks helps New York

One of Muttluks proudest moments was when it was called on to help SAR (Search and Rescue) dogs in need of paw protection at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001. It began when Muttluks received a call from the NYPD Canine Unit requesting boots for 30 SAR dogs helping in the efforts at Ground Zero. A seemingly impossible task as the border between Canada and the US was closed. Muttluks reached out to one of its US customers, Drs Foster & Smith, to arrange shipment of Muttluks to Ground Zero from within the US. Drs Foster & Smith made special arrangements for Muttluks to be included on the first Angel Flights to Ground Zero.

Muttluks began receiving thank you responses from the public for helping the 300 SAR dogs at ground zero. Muttluks called their contact at the NYPD Canine Unit to clarify the number of SAR dogs at Ground Zero. They confirmed there were over 300 SAR dogs on site. Muttluks immediately stopped everything and focused solely on delivering over 850 sets of boots to Ground Zero as soon as possible. A FedEx employee called Muttluks to offer assistance, Marianne thanked her for her offer and explained Muttluks was comfortable handling the matter as Muttluks shipped to the United States on a daily basis. Muttluks arrived at the FedEx depot on September 13th with 14 boxes and 850 sets of boots, a minute before the cutoff time for priority overnight delivery and, at the end of a long line up of people. The FedEx agent informed Muttluks that next day delivery was out of the question. Although every parcel was marked “URGENT - NYPD CANINE UNIT” Muttluks was told “yes, you and everybody else”. Upon returning home Muttluks called the FedEx employee who had earlier kindly offered her assistance. The next morning, Friday September 14th, the planes were grounded and the Canada/US border was closed for a second day. Muttluks was inundated with press wanting to know when the boots would arrive but the border closing created confusion resulting in the package being untraceable. No one knew what had become of the 14 boxes of Muttluks boots until 1:00 o’clock pm when Marianne Bertrand received a call from “Tracy – your truck driver Tracy explained FedEx had tried unsuccessfully to obtain a response from US or Canadian officials in order obtain special permission for the delivery of the Muttluks regardless of the border closing. Frustrated and wanting to help, Tracy (a FedEx truck driver) simply threw the Muttluks boxes in a truck and asked the O.P.P. (Ontario Provincial Police) if they would escort her to the border from Toronto Pearson Airport where the boxes of boots were sitting. The O.P.P. agreed. Tracy informed Marianne she was on the 401 heading to the border with an O.P.P. escort. At this time the lineup at the border was 24 hours long. They had asked for special border clearance and FedEx had a truck waiting on the other side. No one knew for certain whether the boots would be allowed to cross the border once they arrived. Marianne asked Tracy if there was other product in the truck. Tracy said no aside from the Muttluks boots, the truck was empty. The boots did cross the border that day in a record 10-hour direct ground shipment from Toronto to New York. Muttluks and FedEx made history when the Muttluks were the only item to cross the Canadian/US border on a day the border was closed! Muttluks’ contact at NYPD Canine Unit called overjoyed with gratitude. They almost couldn’t believe their eyes when the truck opened its doors and the Muttluks boxes came out. In 2002, Muttluks was awarded the “Be Kind to Animals” Award by the Toronto Humane Society for Muttluks’ donation of over 850 sets of boots to the 300 SAR (Search and Rescue) dogs at Ground Zero on 9/11. Thank you FedEx. When Muttluks informed Drs. Foster & Smith of the misunderstanding regarding the number of dogs at Ground Zero, Drs. Foster & Smith sent additional sets. They went so far as to hire a private jet to deliver the boots. The pilot, who donated his time, flew with an F18 escort, the day the planes were grounded. Upon hearing about his actions other members of the small airport and FedEx donated the gas for the trip. The pilot received an FAA Award for his actions and generosity.

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