The New York Times’ David Dunlap on the thorny matter of what exactly constitutes an appropriate souvenir from the most deadly terrorist attack on American soil.

Shoppers on the lookout for something new, unusual and uniquely New York will find plush 9/11 search-and-rescue puppies on sale opposite ground zero.

Yes, it is a child™s version of the dogs that were taken to the ruins of the World Trade Center after Sept. 11, 2001, to search for survivors. And human remains.

The 8-inch-tall doe-eyed puppies, which cost $11.95, wear blue T-shirts with two offset squares symbolizing the voids left by the twin towers.

œGrandparents and parents would come up to us afterwards, she Tribute Center director Lynn Tierney, œand say: ˜We™re so moved. Is there anything here that would help me start a dialogue with my children or grandchildren about 9/11?™ 

The puppies were a response to that demand, she said, and arrived about two weeks ago. œThey™re really popular, Ms. Tierney said. œPeople recognize immediately that we™re paying homage to a critical part of the story.

In fact, she said, her 7-year-old niece in Sturbridge, Mass., is getting a puppy for Christmas. (Publishing this information, she added, would not spoil the girl™s surprise because she did not read The New York Times.)

That’s a sweet note to end on, especially as I don’t believe the anatomically-correct Rudy Giuliani doll is appropriate to a 7-year old. Still, I can’t resist : if there are any touristas from Main Street, USA who are having a tough time “starting a dialogue” with their offspring about the horrors of 9/11, perhaps a handheld video game would be the perfect ice-breaker?