He was named after the brightest winter star in the Northern Hemisphere – Sirius the Dog Star. A star of legend and mythology.
K-9 Sirius was a yellow Labrador Retriever,born in January 1997. He became an Explosive Detection Dog upon graduation from the Port Newark K-9 Center on July 15, 2000, he was assigned Badge #17 and was partnered with Officer Dave Lim of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police K-9 Unit. Lima and Sirius were stationed at the World Trade Center where they often searched hundreds of trucks and vehicles each day, as part of America’s “War on Terrorism”. Sirius was the only police dog killed by the terrorists on September 11, 2001.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Sirius and Officer Lim were at their Station located in the basement of Tower Two. Lim heard an explosion and assumed a bomb had gone off, not knowing that it was actually the first hijacked airliner that crashed into WTC Tower One. Officer Lim went to aid evacuation of people from the building and left Sirius in his Kennel, thinking 1) it would be easier to have two free hands, and 2) Sirius would be safe in Tower Two basement. He promised Sirius he would be back.
Officer Lim failed to return for Sirius. Becoming trapped in the falling debris of Tower One, he wasn’t rescued until five hours later. Lim tried to make his way to the basement but was stopped by other rescue workers for it was two dangerous.
Four months later, on January 21, 2002, recovery teams at Ground Zero located Sirius’s remains. It was determined Sirius was killed instantly when the tower collapsed. Officer Lim was there when recovery teams found Sirius. Everything stopped and everyone saluted while Lim and other officers carried his dog’s body from the wreckage – draped with the American Flag.
A Memorial Service for Sirius was held on April 24, 2002 at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. Earlier that month, Sirius had been posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross at the British Embassy in Manhattan. Almost one hundred police dogs wearing badges covered by black ribbon as far away as California attended and filed past the wooden urn containing the ashes of Sirius, each stopping to salute. Seven officers fired a 21-gun salute.
FBI Special Agent Gerry Fornino, who had been in charge of searching for evidence and personal belongings at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, presented Officer Lim with Sirius’ metal water bowl, which had been pulled from Lim’s car. The bowl had been inscribed with Sirius’ shield number and the words:
“I gave my life so that you may save others.”
He was a loyal and courageous dog. He was also a good friend. Rest in Peace, Sirius. Your memory will be added to the legend of the star that shares your name.
Shiny and Sparkly and Splendidly Bright, Here One Day, Gone One Night – from Michael Jackson’s Gone Too Soon.
Update: There is now a Sirius Courage Award. The first two Sirius Courage Awards will be presented by Lt. David W. Lim posthumously to the family of SGT Zainah Caye Creamer, USA, and to the family of Petty Officer First Class John Douangdara, USN. The awards will be presented during the 9-11 Working Dog Recognition Ceremony at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011.
On August 6, 2011, Petty Officer Douangdara and his Belgian Malinois canine partner Bart, assigned to an East Coast SEAL team, were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan that took the lives of 29 other American service members.
SGT Zainah “Caye” Creamer and her canine partner Jofa, was attached to the 2d Battalion of the 502d Infantry Regiment in Afghanistan. On 12 January 2011, during an air assault operation while conducting route and building clearance missions in villages and along roadways, SGT Creamer was killed in action when an improvised explosive device detonated during the unit movement.