Appollo (dog)

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BreedGerman Shepherd
DiedNovember 2006 (aged 13-14)
OccupationSearch and rescue dog
EmployerNew York Police Department
Known forSearch and rescue operations at the World Trade Center site
OwnerPeter Davis
AwardsDickin Medal
AKC Award for Canine Excellence

Apollo was a search and rescue dog who served with the K-9 unit of the New York Police Department. He was awarded the Dickin Medal, the animals' equivalent of the Victoria Cross,[1] in recognition of the work done by all search and rescue dogs following the September 11 attacks.[2] Apollo and his handler were working at the World Trade Center site soon after the attacks.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Apollo was a German Shepherd born around 1992, who was in service with the K-9 unit of the New York Police Department (NYPD).[4] In 1994, he graduated from the NYPD Canine Special Operations Division, and was one of the first dogs to learn search and rescue. Apollo passed Type-II training in Florida in 1997, and Type-I in Indianapolis in 1999. He was also part of the first NYPD K-9 team to pass them for Urban Search and Rescue New York Task Force 1. Apollo and his handler Peter Davis also worked in the Dominican Republic after a hurricane. Apollo died in November 2006.

September 11 attacks[edit]

Apollo and his handler, Peter Davis, were called in to assist with the rescue operations after the September 11 terror attacks. They arrived at the World Trade Center site fifteen minutes after the fall of the twin towers, making Apollo the first search and rescue dog to arrive at the site.[3][5] At one point, Apollo was almost killed by flames and falling debris. However, he survived, having been drenched after falling into a pool of water just before this incident. Apollo started working again as soon as Davis had brushed the debris off him.[5]


Apollo received the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, on behalf of all the search and rescue dogs who participated in the rescue operations at the World Trade Center site and the Pentagon.[2][6] He received the award along with guide dogs Roselle and Salty, who rescued their owners from the World Trade Center.[5] The citation for the award was as follows:

For tireless courage in the service of humanity during the search and rescue operations in New York and Washington on and after 11 September 2001. Faithful to words of command and undaunted by the task, the dogs' work and unstinting devotion to duty stand as a testament to those lost or injured.[7]

Apollo received the American Kennel Club Ace award in 2001. He was also honoured for his work at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show of 2002, in which he and several other dogs from the New York Police Department's K-9 unit participated.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Long, David (2012). The animals' VC: for gallantry and devotion: the PDSA Dickin Medal - inspiring stories of bravery and courage. London: Preface. ISBN 9781848093768.
  2. ^ a b "The Animals' VC". BBC. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  3. ^ a b Choron, Sandra (2005). "World Trade Center Dogs". Planet Dog. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 84. ISBN 0-618-51752-9. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Westminster Club plans 9-11 tribute". AFP. The Olympian. 11 February 2002. Archived from the original on 11 March 2002. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  5. ^ a b c "Life Saving" (PDF). Imperial War Museum London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  6. ^ "The World Trade Center's Heroic Rescue Dogs". Dogs in the News. 1 June 2002. Archived from the original on 4 February 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  7. ^ "PDSA Dickin Medal Dogs". People's Dispensary for Sick Animals. Archived from the original on 20 August 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010.

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