‘Her Bark Always Gave Hope’: Mexican Rescue Dog Frida Retires

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FILE – In this Sept. 28, 2017 file photo, Frida, one of three Marine dogs specially trained to search for people trapped inside collapsed buildings, wears her protective gear during a press event in Mexico City. Frida, a yellow Labrador retriever, retired Monday, June 24, 2019, from rescue work nearly two years after gaining international fame for searching for survivors in the rubble of a deadly 2017 earthquake in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

After participating in 53 rescue operations, saving a dozen lives and finding over 40 bodies in disaster zones, Frida, the beloved yellow Labrador retriever from Mexico’s Navy unit, has retired.

The Mexican navy celebrated the canine’s contributions by honoring her in a ceremony on Monday, as part of the International Rescuers Day.

“Her bark always gave hope, and in moments of pain and uncertainty she brought relief,” said Deputy Naval Minister Eduardo Redondo.

The 65 pound and 10-year-old dog was part of rescue operations not only in Mexico but also in Ecuador and Haiti in 2010, after the deadly earthquake in Port-au-Prince. But it wasn’t until September 2017 that she gained international recognition on social media after the Mexican navy posted a video of her. 

In September 2017 two devastating earthquakes shook Mexico just days apart. The second one, on Sept. 19, killed more than 300 people, including 205 in Mexico City, and caused many structures to collapse. Frida assisted in rescue efforts in both disasters that month.

Wearing goggles and neoprene booties, Frida accompanied first responders looking for the children that perished in a school in Mexico City during the earthquake. The images traveled the world and became a trending topic to the point that celebrities like actor Chris Evans shared the video saying “What did we do to deserve dogs?”

Even though she didn’t rescue anyone during the aftermath of the earthquake in Mexico City, first responders agreed that Frida gave hope to people in the country and people watching the disaster from afar. 

“In social terms, this dog functioned like a transitional object because maybe she didn’t help us in anything real or concrete — meaning she didn’t rescue anyone — but she let us feel like there was hope and that there were things that could help us,” Fátima Laborda, a psychoanalyst and director of Casa Grana, a psychological assistance and research organization, told The Associated Press at the time.

Now, her gear has been hung up and members of the Mexican navy awarded their canine fellow with a chew toy for her to play in her upcoming phase.

Frida is expected to move to the countryside and help in the training of the rescue dogs next generation, according to Mexican authorities.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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  • Towels and blankets - Shelters are often cold and animals like to have a blanket to curl up on. Towels are a big help to dry animals off after being bathed or if they come in wet. Towels can also be used to line the bottoms of cages. The towels or blankets don't have to be brand new or in perfect condition. The animals won't mind, as long as they're usable.
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  • Puppy or kitten formula and nursing bottles - Sometimes there are situations where a young puppy or kitten who is not weaned gets separated from their mother. In these situations they need puppy or kitten formula to survive.
  • Old newspaper - When you're done with your newspapers you usually just throw them away or recycle them, right? You could help animals at no cost to you if you just save up your old newspapers. Newspapers are used in the bottoms of cages. They get soiled quickly, so they're in constant demand.
  • Collars, harnesses, and leashes - Dogs who are taken out on walks need a leash and collar or harness. The shelter loses some because adopted dogs often go home with their leash or harness.
  • Grooming supplies - Grooming supplies can include shampoo, brushes, combs, haircutting scissors, etc. Dogs and cats often come in dirty or end up getting dirty. Grooming supplies can keep them fresh, clean, and adoptable.
  • Toys - You would get bored if you had to lay in a crate alone all day, wouldn't you? Animals in shelters get bored, too. It keeps the animals from being so lonely and bored and allows them to get exercise. You could go out and buy new toys, or you could donate toys your pets or children may have not gotten much use out of. It's as simple as that.
  • Crates and carriers - Animals need to be transported somehow, and the cost of multiple crates and carriers can add up quickly. You can donate ones you stopped using that are still in good condition or you could go buy one for a decent price. This helps the shelter tremendously.
  • Paper towels and cleaning supplies - There are a lot of situations that get messy, so paper towels are a big help.
  • Hand wash and hand sanitizer - People who work at shelters need to keep their hands clean for their and the animals' health.
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and bleach - Towels and blankets get soiled often so the washing machines are being used a lot
  • Dog and cat beds - this can offer the animals a soft place to lay instead of a kennel or cage floor.
  • Heating pads - Many animals come in cold or are young and need warmth. Heating pads can replace a mother's warmth.
  • Copy paper and pens, pencils, post-it notes and staples - You can't forget about all the paperwork that has to be done. Donating these items makes it so the shelter doesn't have to buy them on their own.
  • Garbage bags, mops, brooms, and sponges - The shelter uses these every day and clean up supplies can get expensive.
  • Food bowls - As new animals come in, the shelter needs new places to put food. Having an adequate supply could mean life or death for an animal in a shelter.
  • Rubber and latex gloves - A lot of messy stuff happens and gloves are necessary to lessen the spread of germs.
  • Plastic shopping bags - Plastic bags can be used to clean up dog mess and to store things in.

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