Claim: A dog named Daisy rescued hundreds of people from the damaged World Trade Center towers on 9/11.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, November 2001]
Origin:A blind man, a golden retriever named Daisy, the selfless rescue of almost a thousand people from one of the collapsing World Trade Center towers — if it all sounds too good to be true, it's because it is.
This is a case of the heroic rescue that wasn't: This widely circulated Internet tale of canine courage is pure fiction. No dog, of any type or name, rescued several hundred people from the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. One of this fictional item's more obvious tipoffs is the claim that the imaginary dog went to the 112th floor of the damaged tower to retrieve more victims in need of rescuing — an impossibility, as both World Trade Center towers topped out at 110 floors.
One version of the Internet forward concluded with "copied from NEW YORK TIMES 9-19-01." That claim is as fake as the rest of the piece: no such article ran in The New York Times or in any other publication, on that date or any other.
At least two men were guided to safety from the World Trade Center buildings by their guide dogs: Michael Hingson from the 78th floor by Roselle, and Omar Rivera from the 71st floor by Salty. Neither dog returned to those buildings to rescue others, though.
Roselle and Salty received a joint Dickin Medal for their actions on 9/11, as did a NYPD Search and Rescue dog named Appollo, but no dog was given the "Canine Medal of Honor of New York" (an award that does not exist) by New York mayor Rudy Guilaini in connect with the 9/11 attacks.
The horror that was September 11 is hard for many of us to accept, thus the need for "miraculous rescue" tales such as this one. That they have to be made up apparently doesn't stop some from doing exactly that.
Last updated: 09 September 2016
Originally published: 06 November 2001
Montero, David. "Dog Guides Blind Owner Down from 78th Floor."
Inside Ventura County. 15 September 2001.
"A Breed Apart; Service Dogs Are Heroes with Fur."
The Washington Post. 11 October 2001 (p. C14).