Teams of federal, state and local officials, together with the military, are all racing the clock to free people from the rubble in Mexico City, following the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that shook the Mexican capital on Tuesday. Things are intense, with at least 216 people having been killed, but far more have been rescued. Among the Mexico earthquake rescue volunteers is a dog named Frida, a Labrador trained to seek out survivors in the rubble. She has saved 52 people to date in her career, 12 of them in the earthquake two weeks ago in Oaxaca.
Now Frida and her fellow canine rescuers are busy at work in and around Mexico City, where a major earthquake struck this week. This is the deadliest earthquake that the country has faced since at least 1985, when 10,000 people were killed in an 8.1-magnitude quake that also struck the capital.
Dogs were used in one of the most dramatic searches to date, that of a little girl at the Enrique Rebsamen School in southern Mexico City. Her hand was spotted and they called on her to wiggle it, and she did. After that they sent a canine team in to confirm that she was alive. At the site so far, 25 bodies have been found, while 11 have been rescued. At least three are missing.
Frida has been getting the most attention because she is so photogenic. She's the focus of a lot of the social media posts on the rescue dogs. Frida works with the canine rescue division of the Mexican Secretariat of the Navy. Her two doggy co-workers are named Eco and Evil. They will all be hard at work until the rescues going on across the region are finished.
This has led to a call for doggie booties that will protect their feet because they're walking over rubble that can be hard on their feet. According to a local news report in Mexico, both the Red Cross and a famous rescue brigade Topos are collecting them. There are special types available online, but on social media there are calls for people to knit more. You can see the type of boots that Frida is wearing in one of the most emblematic pictures of the canine. She also has a mask on to protect her eyes.
However, if you're hoping to help the rescue dogs, it's probably best not to start sending in knitted boots from the United States. The Red Cross has made it very clear that for those far away, economic aid is the only way. You can give to lots of different organizations, but the Red Cross and Topos are two of the most well-respected groups working in Mexico.
Other dogs are among those who have been rescued. A golden retriever was pulled from the rubble in the Alvaro Obregon area of Mexico City. The people watching were reportedly ecstatic, cheering and petting the dog when the human rescuers pulled it to safety. One person yells out that they pass around the dog in a joyous tone, the report stated. With so much destruction, it's these hopeful moments that provide a mental health boost.
They will be split up by large stretches of hard work. Even local residents have been out on the street trying to help support the rescuers by preparing food and giving out water. What is usually quite a stratified society has truly come together to literally dig each other out.
Álvaro Jiménez, an engineer volunteering in the rescue effort told The Washington Post that earthquakes bring out the best in fellow citizens. These kinds of events bring the best out of Mexicans. We can fight each other like dogs when things are going well, but when somebody needs help, we band together.” And they come together working with dogs, too.