Jake, 12, Black Lab Hero Rescue Dog Dies of Cancer


Jake, Certified Rescue Dog.

Jake pushed through white-hot, smoking debris in search of survivors at the World Trade Center site after 9-11 and died last Wednesday following a battle with cancer.

Owner Mary Flood had Jake put to sleep Wednesday after a last stroll through the fields and a dip in the creek near their home in Oakley, Utah. He was in too much pain at the end, shaking with a 105-degree fever as he lay on the lawn.

Cancer is common in Black Labradors that are Jake’s age, but some wonder if the toxins and smoke he breathed may have killed him.

Owner Mary Flood adopted Jake as a 10-month-old disabled puppy — abandoned on a street with a broken leg and a dislocated hip. He became a world-class rescue dog — a member of Utah Task Force 1, one of eight federal search-and-rescue teams that searched for human remains at ground zero.

On the night of the arrival of Utah Task Force 1, Jake walked into a fancy Manhattan restaurant wearing his search-and-rescue vest and was courteously treated to a free steak dinner under a table.

Jake was one of fewer than 200 U.S. government-certified rescue dogs — a muscular animal on 24-hour call to tackle disasters such as building collapses, earthquakes, hurricanes, avalanches annd other disasters.

Mary Flood and Jake drove 30 hours from Utah to Mississippi, where they searched through the rubble of flooded homes in search of survivors from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.

Cynthia Otto of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine is researching the health of Sept. 11 dogs, and expects Jake’s autopsy and the other animal being evaluated hellp understand, prevent and treat long-term consequences stemming from 9/11 and other disasters.