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Meet Frida, the labrador who is helping rescue people after Mexico earthquake

Mexico earthquake: Frida was accompanied by her younger canine colleagues, Echo and Evil, for rescue work.

world Updated: Sep 22, 2017 13:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Frida,Rescue dog,Mexico earthquake
Frida is a rescue dog who has been deployed to find survivors of the Mexico earthquake. (Twitter)

Frida is a Marina. She wears protective booties on her paws, goggles and a jacket while trying to sniff out survivors during natural disasters.

The golden labrador -- part of the Mexican Navy’s canine unit -- has helped saved 52 people in multiple natural disasters. She was deployed on Tuesday for rescue efforts after a powerful earthquake struck central Mexico.

The seven-year-old rescue dog is part of a 15-member team of canines that are detecting victims and survivors trapped in the rubble after the deadly quake. The Mexico Navy tweeted last week a collage of Frida decked in her uniform and ready to be deployed. It described her as: “ She is Frida. The navy is proud that has managed to save 52 lives in different natural disasters nationally and internationally.”

Frida was working at the Enrique Rebsamen school where 11 children were rescued and were being treated at hospitals. Authorities said at least 25 bodies -- 19 children and 6 adults -- were retrieved from the school.

Rescuers swarmed over rubble with shovels and picks on Thursday in a frantic search for survivors two days after Mexico’s deadliest earthquake in a generation, focusing on 10 collapsed buildings where people may still be alive. The death toll was at least 273, officials said.

The canine, who is now popular on social media, was also deployed two weeks before another earthquake hit the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. She found the body of a police officer in Juchitan, a LA Times report said.

Frida’s handler Israel Arauz Salinas said she was exhausted after searching the school on Wednesday.

Salinas told the LA Times rescue dogs are trained to bark if they detect a survivor. The dogs stop suddenly if they find a body. “They act afraid... That indicates to us that there is a cadaver.” The dogs can wriggle into small spaces that are inaccessible to humans.

Frida wasn’t alone at the school. Her younger canine colleagues, Echo and Evil (both a year and a half) enter collapsed buildings before Frida because of their age. She spends no more than 20 minutes inside, her handler said.

Salinas explained that service dogs are selected when they are two months old. They are trained three hours a day to search for people by playing fetch with toys. Then the trainer starts running with the toy in hand. “They start associating the smell of the person with the reward of the ball,” he said.

Frida’s Twitter admirers have been lauding her bravery. While some have thanked her for her contribution, others have demanded that Frida replace the famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s image on the 500-peso note. Here’s a look at some of the reactions:

Documenting every moment of Frida’s nap time: 

One user got a... tattoo!

First Published: Sep 22, 2017 09:41 IST