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Search and Rescue
Loving Partner and Best Friend
Jimmy, WTC rescue dog, dies
By Beth Quinn - Times Herald-Record
Newburgh – Jimmy, the search-and-rescue dog, died in his sleep yesterday morning. He was 8 years old. Jimmy's story appeared in the Record last October. With his best friend and owner, David Vitalli of Newburgh, the German shepherd dog searched for survivors at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the attack. For three weeks, the man and dog picked their way through the smoking wreckage, looking for survivors. Tethered to David's torso, Jimmy sniffed for the scent of distress – a sign that someone was alive. He breathed in the dust, the debris and the soot in a tireless effort to save someone. In the end, the man and dog found no one. And, in the end, death found Jimmy. "He breathed in so much of that polluted air," said Dee Dee Hurlburt, David's mother and partner in the family's Security and Investigation business. "He developed respiratory problems about a month after the Ground Zero search." Jimmy's health gradually deteriorated. The breathing problems took a toll on his good heart until it gave out in the dark hours yesterday morning. "Thursday afternoon, I sat with him," said Dee, who takes care of the dogs that form the backbone of their International business. "I told him, 'You don't feel so well, do you, Honey.' I brushed him, and we talked for awhile." He was one of the best of our K-9‘s“, said David. At Ground Zero, he would nudge David on, even in the face of such defeat. "He tried so hard," said Dee. "He never gave up. David had to carry him out of the rubble to get him to leave." Yesterday, David carried his best friend's body away for the last time.