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updated 28/9/01

Atrocities in the USA
- what the papers have said

Foundation to help search and rescue dogs

The devastation caused to New York in the recent terrorist attack and its aftermath, shocking as it is, cannot mask the courage, compassion and decency of those left to pick up the pieces.

When Wilma Melville, a retired teacher, decided to put her skills and interests together, she took stray dogs from The Pound and trained them to work with the California Fire Service to seek earthquake survivors trapped beneath collapsed buildings.

Six years ago she and her dog, Murphy, went to the site of the Oklahoma bombing, where they rescued many of the injured and dead. Since that time she's been developing the programme and the NDSDF is about to open a Florida chapter.

After the terrorist attack in New York, her first task was the Salaman Bros building. There are currently 8 handlers and dogs searching for survivors in the wreckage of the World Trade Centre.

The FDSDF is a voluntary, non-profit making charity. It needs funds to pay the vet bills. The dogs are all suffering from cuts, bruises, burns and dust in their lungs.

So many people here in the UK have expressed a wish to send a message of unity by doing something positive. We've pledged to raise funds for these bills and have waived any fee. We have already enlisted the help of BBC local radio, national newspapers and magazines as well as individuals.

If you'd like to participate, please send your donation, however small, to: Ojai Valley Bank, Box 99, Ojai, California 93024 USA, please make cheques payable to 'Search Dogs'. l

See Killick's Column for more information on how you can help.

Rottweiler added to flight crew gives sense of comfort
By ALINE McKENZIE / The Dallas Morning News

Like so many other travellers, Madelaine Pfau of Dallas was stranded by the no-fly order after the September 11 terrorist hijackings.

When Ms. Pfau was finally able to fly home Saturday on American Airlines, she and her fellow passengers were heartened to see an unusual addition to the flight crew - a 100-pound Rottweiler in first class. "It was great," she said. "It gave us all a sense of comfort. The dog was very friendly, but you could tell it was under very tight voice control."

The handler wore plain clothes and said he wasn't a sky marshal, Ms. Pfau said, but his bag was labelled "crew" and "flight safety."

American Airlines declined to comment on the dog.

The dog was a popular passenger. Everyone petted him, Ms. Pfau said. A woman changed seats so a child could sit next to the dog.

And it showed how much attitudes can change in a time of emergency, Ms. Pfau said.

If, a week before, someone had had a huge dog on a plane, people would have been complaining about it taking up space, scaring people or aggravating allergies, she said.

"Everyone would have been kicking up a fuss."