Bear - Heart of a Hero
By Captain Scott Shields
and Nancy M. West
When you think of a biography, a famous person comes to mind. In this case, the biography is of Bear, America's most decorated dog.
If you are a dog lover, you will love the story of this brave dog as he worked the treacherous Ground Zero scene after the September 11th terrorist attacks. You will relate to the special relationship between the Golden Retriever "Bear" and his "dad" Captain Scott Shields.
Even if dogs aren't special to you, this book will give you a different perspective of the hours after that tragic event. A perspective from a marine safety officer who, just months after burying his beloved dog Honey (Bear's mother) sped to Lower Manhattan to help with the rescue operation.
The stories of how Bear tirelessly worked the dangerous piles of debris assisting the NY Fire Department will keep you riveted. Bear was exhausted but he kept going into the mangled wreckage into dangerous spots that humans couldn't manage. His paws were flaming red from irritation. Often he had to search in crevices filled with steam - so he was essentially blind.
The firemen and others "adopted" Bear during the rescue missions - clearing the soot from his eyes and ears and making sure he had water. Bear had been taught as a pup not to accept food from strangers but for the first time in his life he did - the first night at Ground Zero when he ate ten steak sandwiches given to him by a Salvation Army volunteer.
The stories are amazing. The large number of black and white photos also tell their own story. Somehow the black and white is fitting for this event and this heroic dog.
Bear was honored as a Hero to Humanity by the United Nations, and his photograph was displayed there for the World Peace Celebration in 2003. He became the poster dog for the 911 rescue operations.
On September 11, 2004, the FDNY-EMS Academy in Fort Totten, New York honored Bear by etching his name into a brick that is part of a permanent memorial to the fallen heroes of 9/11. Bear was wounded at Ground Zero and died one year later of multiple forms of cancer.
Don't skip the touching tale of how Bear was buried as a fireman and how thousands attended his memorial service.
Captain Scott Shields now serves as president of The Bear Search and Rescue Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises funds for equipment, training, and transportation for search and rescue teams across the country.
Co-writer Nancy West is the author of "Chips: The War Dog", a children's novel based on the true-life adventures of the well-known World War II K-9 hero.
The story of Bear is a book you will read in one sitting and want to share with others.
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