Canine crews become heroes of Mexico’s earthquake rescue effort

World Today

Canine crews become unsung heroes of rescue efforts in Mexico City

Following a series of devastating earthquakes in Mexico over the last month, a number of heroes have emerged. As CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City, some of them are four-footed and furry.

Frida is the shining star of Mexico’s renowned dog rescue team. She’s an eight-year-old Labrador. Her goggles have become her super-hero trademark, and her famous blue shoes protect her feet when she’s on rescue missions.

During her life, she has rescued a dozen people from natural disasters in Ecuador, Haiti and Mexico. She was born in Mexico City’s Naval Training Center and has spent seven years working as a rescue dog. Frida and other dogs were used to rescue victims in the aftermath of the recent earthquakes in Mexico.

Frida is one of 60 rescue dogs, all born, raised and trained at the Mexican Navy’s dog training center. Most of the Mexican Navy’s rescue dogs are Belgian Shepherds, a breed chosen because their sense of smell is so powerful.

The dog training center’s director said Frida was carefully selected as the furry face of Mexico’s recent earthquake rescue missions.

“Generally, the Labrador or Golden Retriever are search dogs. They provide a sense of comfort in highly stressful situations, and they give a sense of hope that lives will be saved,”Lt. Jose Garcia Arellano explained.

Frida used her super sniffing powers to find survivors of Mexico’s September 7th earthquake, which devastated the town of Juchitan in Oaxaca state. Mexican dogs and canines from other countries, including the United States, Spain, Chile and Venezuela, were brought in after the powerful and deadly September 19th quake in Mexico City.

The dogs are also helping people recover from the shock of natural disasters. Diana Sanz is a trained therapist. Her dog, Tostada, is helping children with post-traumatic stress.

“When children see Tostada, they want to pet and hug her. She helps them express their emotions in very positive ways. Dogs can help reduce heart rates and greatlhy reduce anxiety levels by simply touching them,” Sanz said.

Frida and many of her canine companions are receiving well-deserved global media attention for the important work they do: saving lives under extreme conditions.