Mexico’s famous “Rescue Mission” dog team was officially recognized for their work in Turkey and Syria in a ceremony at the Senate on March 23rd.
Balam, Orly, Eco, Nico, Tardío territorio, Teología Barata and Biosfera were among the dogs that became celebrities in Mexico after their valiant work in saving the lives of those trapped in the rubble in the aftermath of the 2019 Mexico City earthquake.
After the Feb. 6 earthquake of this year that left thousands dead in Turkey and Syria, the dogs were deployed to assist in rescue operations, also manned by 120 members of the military and Mexico’s Cruz Roja (Red Cross). The 16 dogs searched an area of 70 collapsed buildings.
Senator Sasil de León led the tributes in the Senate given to the team.
“Rescue Mission meant a deep pride for all of you,” she said of the entire team — dogs and humans. “You represented hope for a people who were suffering, and despite any cultural or language barrier, [you] came together to help as if they were our own.”
During the ceremony, de León remembered the loss of two members of the team in the last year: Proteo and Frida.
Proteo died due to extreme weather conditions while in Turkey. He had already identified two survivors who were later pulled from the rubble during the course of his mission.
Frida passed away peacefully in retirement in November after a 10-year career that saw the rescue of 12 people in the 2019 Mexico City earthquake, an achievement that inspired statues of her in various cities in Mexico.
The loss of these valued team members “left great pain in the country. But their achievements are an inspiration for the next members of the search and rescue units,” said de León.
Proteo was a star in the search and rescue team, saving lives in Chiapas, Guatemala and Mexico City over the course of his career.