September 19, 2017, will forever be engrained in the history of Mexico City and the whole nation. Unfortunately, this day will forever be remembered as one of the hardest days this country has lived through.
What was originally supposed to be a nice, late summer day turned into a devastating disaster that left the country’s capital and other states in chaos. A powerful earthquake with a 7.1 magnitude shocked the country to its core, toppling buildings and killing hundreds of people.
As it usually happens – when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Meet the beacon of hope and the four-legged national hero, the Mexican Navy rescue dog named Frida, that used her powerful sense of smell and keen abilities to save multiple people trapped beneath the rubble following the deadly earthquake.
A National Symbol And Inspiration
Frida, then 7-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, used her training to save 12 lives and uncover more than 40 bodies, which is more than any other search and rescue dog at work.
This rather historic undertaking earned her a social media stardom and the title of a symbol of hope and Mexican pride.
“Frida, you’re a hero without a cape, more than Superman, no doubt”, says the song written in Frida’s honor and as a way of thanking this beautiful soul with a heart of gold.
The Bark Of Hope
Midst all the darkness and sorrow, Frida was truly the light at the end of a tunnel for many.
Dressed in, now already iconic, custom googles and little rubber booties, mighty Frida assisted in search and rescue efforts and helped sniff out the victims. She and her handler, Israel Arauz, worked tirelessly day after day to find survivors.
Frida was seen running heroically toward the rubble every time her help was needed. Eleven children were rescued at the place where Frida mostly helped. Her bark was not any more just a form of communication, but a tiny spark of hope, a hope that another soul will be saved.
Frida melted hearts and helped change the way the world viewed dogs. To all Mexicans and many people around the globe, dogs were not any more just furry pets, but intelligent, heroic creatures that humans did not deserve.
A Send-off Fit For A Hero
After serving 10 years for the Navy of Mexico, helping save dozens of people in Mexico’s deadly earthquake, as well as engaging in rescue work in Haiti and Ecuador, Frida retired in 2019. A full ceremony with a standing ovation was held in her honor by the Mexican Marines.
Frida proved that there is always hope and that we should never give up. She earned respect, admiration, and affection of the whole world.
Frida will never be forgotten. This truly golden girl will forever be edged in the hearts of those that she brought comfort to.
Sadly, in November 2022, at the age of 13, this beloved hero and a legend died of an illness typical for senior dogs.
She might be gone, but her memory will live forever. The smiley pup will forever be remembered as the symbol of the Mexican Navy and a beautiful dog that rose above the challenge, helped save precious lives, and brought respect to all canine units.
In tribute to her extraordinary work, a statue of Frida wearing her special rescue uniform, googles, and little booties was placed outside the Mexican Navy’s offices.
Thank you for your service and your amazing work. You will forever live in our hearts.