One of last surviving 9/11 rescue dogs gets new chance at life with stem cell therapy

A special dog used to help people is getting some much-needed help of her own at a Virginia clinic.

Red, a 12-year-old black Labrador, is one of the last surviving search-and-rescue dogs deployed during the 9/11 attacks, Fox affiliate WTTG-TV reported.

Her handler, Heather Roche, told the station that Red was recently certified when the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, occurred, saying the search-and-rescue operation that followed was her first big mission.

Red's job was to find DNA evidence at the Pentagon's north parking lot with 26 other dogs, according to Roche, who said she did a "fantastic job."

"I got her as a puppy ... You have to convince [her] everything that she does, whether it's climbing ladders or any kind of search, that it's her idea," Roche told WTTG. "No matter what I've asked her to do, she's done it and she's done it flawlessly."

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    But in her old age, Red developed crippling arthritis and underwent stem cell regenerative therapy Monday to help ease her pain so she can get back out on the job.

    Dr. John Herrity of Burke Animal Clinic in Burke, Va., told the station that "Red has a back issue that, after a fall from a ladder, has not really been right, and has been living in pain, so we're going to give those stem cells IV [intravenously] and then also inject them along the back to try to help Red's comfort."

    "She's had a great career and has made a difference to a lot of families by bringing their loved ones home," Roche said.

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