Historical Hounds: Frida The Earthquake Dog Helped Rescue Trapped People And Saved Lives

Frida the earthquake dog

(Image Credit: Getty Images/Ronaldo Schemidt)

Dogs have a special place in our heart. However, some dogs, like Frida the earthquake dog, also have a special place in history.

Historical Hounds is a series that focuses on dogs marked down in history through notability or extraordinary behavior and accomplishments. Frida definitely deserves a place in our memories as one of these special canines.

While Frida may not have been relegated to history just yet—she is still alive and well, after all–she nevertheless deserves a place on our timeline. Frida is a Labrador Retriever who earned her fame after saving several lives during the deadly Mexico City earthquakes back in 2017. The tragedy left over 230 people dead.

Frida, deployed by the Mexican navy, was equipped with a pair of protective goggles and boots and sent to do search and rescue work in Mexico City after the disaster. Here’s her story.

Frida Dives Into The Rubble Where Rescuers Can’t Go

(Image Credit: AFP Contributor/Getty Images)

The star of the Mexican navy’s canine unit, Frida helped detect 52 people over the course of her seven years, twelve of whom were still alive. She worked alongside 14 other rescue dogs after the earthquakes hit and became an instant internet celebrity. Even Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto took to Twitter to sing her praises!

According to Frida’s handler, Israel Arauz Salinas, many of the spaces where Frida and other rescue dogs must go are less than 20 inches high. These are areas where the dogs often have to crawl, going much deeper into the rubble then many rescuers can, to search.

They also train to react differently when finding survivors as opposed to bodies, so those nearby know what to expect when the dogs come back.

Because of her age, Frida often had to take breaks during search and rescue missions. She and other older dogs often suffer from exhaustion for their efforts, but they are properly taken care of and allowed a day of rest to recuperate before going back out.

Frida’s Legacy, A Hero And Symbol Of Hope

 VIew of a large mural paint (R) in honor to Frida, the Mexican Navy's rescue dog in Mexico City on October 10, 2017, three weeks after the earthquake that killed more than 300 people. / AFP PHOTO / ALFREDO ESTRELLA

(Picture Credit: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)

Because of Frida’s legendary status in the wake of the earthquakes of Mexico city, she and her handler, Mr. Salinas, have now been memorialized in statue form. Frida saved at least twelve lives during that time. The people of Mexico celebrate her as a symbol of hope.

A mural also was created to honor Frida and her four-legged colleagues.

She stepped down from rescue work in June of 2019 to become a mentor to future rescue dogs. If anyone deserves a happy retirement, it’s Frida.

Have you heard of Frida before? Do you know of any other rescue dogs who deserve a mention in our Historical Hounds series? Let us know in the comments below!

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