Port Authority K-9 lost on 9/11 will never be forgotten
By Robert Foreman
As many of us do, retired Lieutenant David Lim remembers the September 11th terrorist attacks vividly. A former Port Authority officer with the K-9 Unit, Lim was in the K-9 office that was located in the basement of the World Trade Center when the attacks began. Upon hearing the initial explosion after the first plane struck, he believed that a bomb had gone off. Immediately, Lim put his K-9 partner Sirius, a Labrador retriever, in his dog crate and left to investigate. Little did Lim know that he would never see his beloved Sirius alive again.
“The office was in 2 World Trade Center at the B-1 level (First Basement). After leaving Sirius, I went to 1 World Trade Center and I got to the 5th floor when the building started to collapse. After we managed to get out of the building, I tried to get back to 2 World Trade Center for Sirius, but I couldn’t get back inside,” said Lim.
Lim’s ordeal in the stairway of 1 World Trade Center has come to be known as the ‘Miracle of Stairway B’. He, along with 12 firemen, an engineer, a bookkeeper, and an office temp, miraculously survived as the tower began collapsing upon them. One can only imagine what thoughts were going through their heads as all hell, literally, rained down upon them in that stairwell.
Yet after surviving a building collapse, Lim’s focus was still on his partner and friend, Sirius. While Sirius was still listed as missing after the attacks, Lim had to move on with a new K-9 partner. Lim’s new dog, Sprigs, proved to be a faithful partner until passing away from cancer the day after Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast in 2012. However, Sirius has never been far from Lim’s mind.
“They recovered Sirius in February when I was training Sprigs. We were able to take his remains out with full honors. We took him to Bellevue Hospital and to the Port Authority Command with all of the cops saluting the truck as we went by,” said Lim. “They had a flag on him when we got to Bellevue and they handed me the flag. That’s when I lost it. We had a nice memorial for him in Jersey City. They even gave him a 21-gun salute.”
Lim became an officer in 1980 and joined the K-9 Division in 1997, where he remained until 2005. He eventually became a sergeant and finally a lieutenant in 2008 until retiring out of LaGuardia Airport in 2014. Despite his distinguished 34 years in law enforcement, the impact that Sirius had on him can never be understated.
“My first dog was Lena, but she had to retire in 2000 due to arthritis. I met Sirius at a park where dogs were being checked to be in the K-9 Unit. Sirius was there to be a hunting dog, but when they threw one of the toys in the water he wouldn’t go in the water. So, he failed at being a hunting dog. They asked if I would take him for Bomb Sniffing School and I did,” said Lim. “Now, he was a big dog. Like 90 to 100 pounds. But he was a good dog and a lot of fun to be with. I got to bring him home and he got along great with my kids. When he was at work he did his job, but when he was home he was like any other dog. He was just starting to come out of his shell when he was killed. We didn’t have a lot of pictures of him because we saw him every day. We never expected to lose him.”
Although he had four legs, Sirius proved to be as dedicated a law enforcement officer as any human. He served with distinction and honor and made the ultimate sacrifice as many first responders did on 9/11. As such, Lim firmly believes that Sirius’ service and memory should be kept alive with the greatest show of dignity and respect imaginable.
“Sirius does share a shadow box in the 9/11 Museum with his leash and my holster. But my heart’s desire is for my partner’s name to be engraved into the 9/11 Memorial. He was a police K-9 and he deserves this honor,” said Lim.