POSTED: Saturday, March 24, 2012 - 1:30pm
UPDATED: Saturday, March 24, 2012 - 1:34pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — There's a breakthrough treatment that's helping search and rescue dogs.
These animals played key roles on September 11th and in other disasters.
Now stem cell therapy is part of the recovery process after years of heroic work.
Red's first assignment as a search, rescue and recovery dog was at the Pentagon following the 911 attacks.
Her handler, Heather Roche said "she handled it like a pro. "She didn't care about the machinery, bobcats moving the debris and all the people and everybody in their tyvek suits looking funny with the respirators and she didn't mind any of it and went to work."
Now the 911 hero is in bad shape.
All those years of rescue work, not to mention a 12 foot fall from a ladder, have taken a toll.
Arthritis forced her into retirement in July.
Today, the 12 year old black lab is receiving a breakthrough stem cell treatment that will ease her pain and give her more mobility.
The procedure was performed by Dr. John Herrity at the Burke Animal Clinic, where he's done more than two dozen stem cell operations.
Medivet America developed the technology and donated the cost of the procedure.
The treatment won't enable red to go back to work, but it is expected to put the spring back in her step and make her retirement more enjoyable.