Desoto County News

Sam the dog honored on Memorial Day 

Plaque and monument reunited to honor 9/11 search and rescue dog

Photo: Southaven firefighters and paramedics with Richard Clark at the monument and plaque honoring 9/11 search and rescue dog Sam. (Bob Bakken/

We recently told you the story of Sir Sam, or Sam the Dog, a $20 flea market dog as he was described, who with his trainer/owner Richard Clark received notoriety for going to Ground Zero and helping find people in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks in New York. Sam was one of about 300 search and rescue dogs enlisted after the attacks to help sniff through the rubble, looking for survivors or bodies of those who didn’t make it.  

See: Ceremony honors Southaven canine who aided search and rescue after 9/11

Monday, a brief ceremony was held in front of the Southaven Animal Shelter, where a plaque was reunited with a monument in Sam’s honor. The plaque will be permanently placed at the top of the monument to remember the Southaven canine who had an innate ability to find people. 

Clark, who now lives in Arkansas but resided in Southaven when 9/11 occurred, has had the plaque since it was made, and has told Sam’s story in schools and wherever he was welcomed. Now with a terminal illness, Clark said having the plaque placed on the monument closes a chapter on what he called a very special dog.  

Southaven firefighters and paramedics were also on hand to pay respects to the dog whose image is part of a mural titled “Freedom Heroes,” seen at the front of Fire Station #4 on Getwell Road. 

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