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Bear: Heart of a Hero


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There have been hundreds of stories written of the heroism displayed at Ground Zero in the harrowing moments, that will be forever frozen in time, following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Fire, police, emergency management professionals were joined by common ordinary citizens in our country's hour of need. But, perhaps, the most poignant story is that of 'Bear,' an 11 year old golden retriever, who assisted in the search and rescue efforts. Bear's keen canine instincts were credited with saving the most live victims of the tragedy. Bear's dad, Captain Scott Shields, has vividly recaptured those moments in a book entitled 'Bear: Heart of a Hero.'

Captain Shields recounts his pre-9/11 world. He had been the owner of a dress design and manufacturing company in the Nutmeg state. A divorce and mid-life career change saw him become an emergency management professional. Captain Shields was trained in marine emergency and national disaster management by the United States Coast Guard, National Guard, FEMA and the American Red Cross. Sharing his new life was his precious golden retriever 'Bear.' Meticulous and painstaking training of his best friend saw Captain Shields speak to his young charge in two languages, both English and Spanish.

A beautiful late summer September morning saw Shields in his Greenwich, Connecticut home where he was watching television. Upon seeing the the live broadcast of planes crashing into the World Trade Towers, Scott jumped into his car and made the frantic trek to New York City in record breaking time, less than 40 minutes. By his side was his beloved Bear. Shields recounts the expressive look in Bear's eyes as they made their journey and when they arrived at Ground Zero.

Little did Shields realize that he and Bear would be the first canine team to arrive at Ground Zero, nor could he imagine the extraordinary measures that Bear would take in the search and rescue efforts. Bear often placed himself in harm's way. He cared very little for his own safety. But when called upon by his beloved master, Bear would quickly respond to Shield's command to 'Find the Baby.' (a term he used during their days in training). One of the very first victims Bear found was the body of FDNY Chief Peter Ganci, Jr.

'Bear: Heart of a Hero' is a truly remarkable and inspiring story. In America's darkest hour, Bear rose to the challenge. Together with his keen canine instincts and extensive training in disaster and emergency management, Bear proved to be a hero. All who read this book will come away with a deeper appreciation and love for man's best friend.

We were honored to meet Captain Scott Shields, several years ago, at the SPCA Fund Raising Gala at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club, along with Bear's son 'Theodore.' For information in obtaining this wonderful book, which is published by Hero Dog Publications, and retails for $15.95, you may contact Captain Shields at [email protected] or by telephoning (732)-713-6298.

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