A faithful partner goes home at last
Port Authority Police Officer David Lims last words to his partner on September 11 were: You stay there, Ill be back for you.
After four months, Lim can finally say he fulfilled his vow.
Workers at Ground Zero on Tuesday recovered the remains of Sirius, a yellow Labrador retriever believed to be the only canine to die in the attack on the World Trade Center.
Ive been waiting to find him, Lim said Thursday. I fulfilled my promise to him because I came back and I took him home.
The remains of the bomb-detection dog were found beneath the debris of Tower Two, in the Port Authoritys basement kennel. Lim left Sirius there and went to help with the rescue effort, but didnt make it back he became trapped himself, in Tower One, and wasnt pulled out until more than five hours later.
Workers immediately called Lim to the scene Tuesday when they found Sirius. They carried out the remains with full honours, complete with a prayer and a salute.
There was a flag over his bag and I carried him out with another officer, John Martin, Lim said. Everyone saluted. All the machinery was stopped the same thing that is done for human police officers and firefighters. I thought it was very nice.
Lim, who was heralded for his rescue efforts that day, had placed Sirius in the kennel moments after the first plane hit Tower One. Then he rushed to help people down the staircase, shouting, Down is good.
A twenty-year veteran of the towers, Lim had climbed to the 44th floor of Tower One when Tower Two was hit. When he heard the call to evacuate, he made his way to the fifth floor, where he stopped to help carry a woman.
We got as far as the fourth floor and the building collapsed on us, he said. It was like an avalanche. We were just waiting there to die.
Lim escaped to the sixth floor which eventually became the top of the rubble. He was finally rescued after 3 p.m. He had suffered a mild concussion, but no serious injuries.
The Port Authority has listed 37 of its police officers as missing or dead as a result of the attack. Lim believes that number should be 38.
Sirius, who was four years old, searched commercial vehicles coming into the Trade Center. He had worked with Lim since March 2000 and helped clear the way for visits by such VIPs as President Bill Clinton, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
He was my partner, Lim said. We got really attached to him.
I still step over the spot where he used to sleep in my room because I forget hes not there. Doctors would not allow Lim to search at Ground Zero because of the emotional toll it could have taken on him. But he has kept tabs on the rescue effort, checking in periodically to ask whether they had made it to the kennel area.
In the first few months, rescuers had to build a road over it to get to another area. When they found his jacket recently, Lim knew they were getting close.
Lim was training his new dog, a black Lab named Sprig, when he got the call from Ground Zero on Tuesday.
He found consolation in the fact that his partner died instantly. It appeared that the kennel collapsed.
Sirius remains were cremated at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in Westchester County, N.Y. Lim collected the ashes Thursday and will keep them in an urn at home until April, when he plans to hold a memorial service. He hasnt yet determined where.
We expect hundreds of [police] dogs to come, he said. Its going to be very big.
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