A single day can truly change everything. September 11, 2001 remains a day that changed the world forever, shattering lives and questioning our security. While the events of 9/11 touched each American, some families suffered a greater tragedy.
Animal Planet's series Saved commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with two compelling stories about New York City families who experienced the trauma firsthand and whose unique bonds with their pets helped them cope with their loss and recover from the pain of that terrible day.
New York Firefighters
Brothers Timmy and Tommy Haskell died protecting the citizens of their country. Responding to the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, these FDNY firefighters rushed to the scene to rescue civilians from the crumbling skyscrapers. Sadly, they didn't make it out alive. The loss of Timmy and Tommy was unbearable to their surviving brother, Kenny (also a firefighter who responded to 9/11), their sister, Dawn, and mother, Maureen Haskell.
Maureen desperately wanted to hold on to anything that reminded her of her boys, so she held on dearly to Blaze, Timmy's Dalmatian. Blaze was Timmy's soul mate, and having her around was like having a piece of him back. With Timmy and Tommy gone, the family slowly began to heal through Blaze. She was their therapy dog, getting them through the darkest time of their lives.
"Blaze helped us to cry a little less and to smile a little more," says Maureen. "A hug is very healing from a person, but it is just as healing, if not more, when it comes from a beloved pet; hugging Blaze was like hugging Timmy and Tommy again. That really made my life worth living again."
A Toddler's Tale of Survival
Kate Woolverton's childhood was abruptly interrupted and forever altered on 9/11. Kate was only 4 years old when the planes hit the Twin Towers. Her nanny rushed her through the chaotic streets of NYC to safety, but the collapsing buildings, the cries of people in the streets and smoke and debris filling the air left Kate severely traumatized. She immediately fell into a silent spell, and her parents, Fred and Karolyn, desperately tried to get her out of this state of shock by taking her to a series of specialists. Nothing seemed to rekindle Kate's spirit until the Woolvertons brought home Scout, a Yorkshire terrier.
Scout lifted Kate's spirits and understood her in a way that no one else could. She brought Kate out of a place of terror and fear and into a place of tranquility, peace and safety.
"Just having Scout there helped soak up the pain," says Kate, who is now 14. Sadly, Scout became very ill and needed special care. Kate helped Scout recover from the illness and saved Scout's life. Kate's father is convinced that Kate and Scout saved each other ... he's sure Kate would not be the girl she is today had it not been for Scout.
Saved is a six-part series that uplifts spirits and proves that animals have the power to transform human lives. Each story reveals people eclipsed by their darkest hours who then find light and hope in the purest of forms -- animals. Saved comes to Animal Planet this Fall.