Honored rest after ten years of dangerous work.
Mexican rescue dog Frida came to retire after ten years of service. At home, she acquired the status of a national star after an earthquake in the central part of the country in 2017. It led to enormous destruction and death of more than 300 people. Frida was in the detachment, which evacuated the wounded and found people under the rubble. During her career, Frida discovered 52 people under the rubble, of whom 12 were saved.
In September 2017, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake occurred in Mexico, which destroyed dozens of high-rise buildings and disrupted gas lines. Fires broke out in the cities, and hundreds of people were buried under the rubble. The scale of damage in the first days turned out to be so serious that the situation was recognized as a national catastrophe.
Coincidentally, tremors began on the anniversary of the earthquake in Mexico City in 1985, recognized as one of the most devastating in American history. It led to the death of more than ten thousand people and 30 thousand wounded.
Living in one of the most seismically active regions of the world, Mexicans have a special respect for rescuers, including for service dogs. Those play a key role in the search for people under the rubble, so in September 2017 they were in the center of events. Among them was Frida – the golden Labrador Retriever.
Frida and her master were among the first to begin work, and therefore often got caught in the lenses of the cameras, after which their photographs diverged on social networks. As noted in the BBC, in those days Frida gave people hope. On Twitter, her achievements were noted by then-President Enrique Peña Nieto, as well as by Hollywood actor Chris Evans. “What have we done to deserve dogs?” He commentedon the video about Frida’s work.
In Mexico, training rescue dogs takes a little over a year. They must be able to wade under the rubble and react to any noise that may signal a wounded person nearby. They are also trained to notify in different ways about the discovery of survivors or the dead, so that rescuers have time to prepare the necessary equipment after the dog returns. During her career, Frida discovered 52 people under the rubble, 12 of whom survived.
Like other service dogs, Frida went on missions in special glasses, synthetic boots for paws and military harness to protect her back and torso. “Of the search and rescue teams of the Naval Branch, Frida is the dog with the most experience,” saidone of the commanders of the rescue teams. “Her intellect and olfactory skills make it possible to detect a person at a distance of up to 10 meters under the rubble. She has something special about her lifestyle and character, a sixth sense of her work. ”
Responsibility for the service dog is fully borne by its owner – in the case of Frida, it was made by the rescuer Israel Salinas. He was responsible for her nutrition, training, injuries, the skill of searching for victims and the ability to evacuate in cases where the dog’s life is in danger. Responsible person receives all the awards for the merits of the animal.
Frieda was trained from three months, and finished in about a year. The training took place in three stages: first, it was taught to interact with people, then look for hidden objects (toys or a ball), and in the final to determine smells that resemble the smell of a person under rubble. Upon completion of these steps, dogs were assessed using physical and performance tests.
In October 2017, a wall painting in honor of Frida appeared on one of the buildings in Mexico City. The artist Celeste Byers spent nine days to celebrate the contribution of rescue dogs to the recovery of the country after an earthquake. “I was inspired by the images of the Virgin of Guadalupe (the image of the Virgin, the most revered shrine in Latin America – approx. ) , where she radiates light. I wanted Frida to look holy, ” said the girl.
Celeste Byers on the first day of work on the mural
In July 2018, a monument to Frieda and her master was opened in Mexico City in gratitude for their bravery and all other rescuers. On the opening day, Frida herself was nearby – a crowd of people gathered around her, hugging and photographing her.
As noted in the Associated Press, Frida became a national symbol despite the fact that she did not save anyone during the 2017 earthquake. Psychoanalyst Fatima Laborda explained this by the behavior in extreme or stressful conditions, when people seek to find support and hope in symbols.
In social terms, this dog functioned as a transitional object, because perhaps it did not help us in anything real or concrete, it did not save anyone, but it made us feel that there is hope and things that can help us.
Fatima Laborda psychoanalyst and director of the organization of psychological assistance Casa Grana
In 2019, Frieda was ten years old. As stated in a press release on the website of the Mexican government, over the years of service, the dog proved to be a responsible and outstanding lifeguard. In addition to the events of 2017, Frida participated in the rescue of people after the earthquake in Haiti, Ecuador and Oaxaca, as well as the explosion in the Pemex tower in Mexico City.
Although the dog’s rescue service is officially over, she will train puppies with her master Salinas. He has worked with Frida since 2014 and described this relationship as “very special” and “useful”. “I am happy that Frida retires completely healthy. She earned peace thanks to the work done, ” said the rescuer. While the dog will continue to live on a naval base in southern Mexico.
On the day of Frida’s resignation, the official twitter of the Mexican Navy published a farewell video with thanks to the dog. Deputy Navy Minister Eduardo Redondo also noted her decent work. “Frida stole the heart of all of Mexico and thousands of people around the world. Her barking always gave hope, and in moments of pain and uncertainty she brought relief. Frida, mission accomplished with honor. “
Hoy reconocemos la loable labor de Frida, rescatista de esta institución que hoy es sinónimo de lucha, esfuerzo, unión pero sobre todo de esperanza. ¡#GraciasFrida por todos los años de servicio en los que ayudaste a salvaguardar la vida de muchas personas! #ParaServirAMéxico pic.twitter.com/qfkqNFYC64— SEMAR México (@SEMAR_mx) 24 June 2019