Frida, a rescue dog belonging to the Mexican Navy, with her handler Israel Arauz Salinas, takes part in the effort to look for people trapped at the Rebsamen school in Mexico City, on September 22, 2017, three days after the devastating earthquake that hit central Mexico. / AFP PHOTO / OMAR TORRES        (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)
Frida, a rescue dog belonging to the Mexican Navy, with her handler Israel Arauz Salinas, takes part in the effort to look for people trapped at the Rebsamen school in Mexico City, on September 22, 2017, three days after the devastating earthquake that hit central Mexico. / AFP PHOTO / OMAR TORRES (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)

Frida, the dog that uses sense of smell to locate Mexico’s earthquake survivors

Frida, a rescue dog belonging to the Mexican Navy, with her handler Israel Arauz Salinas, takes part in the effort to look for people trapped at the Rebsamen school in Mexico City, on September 22, 2017, three days after the devastating earthquake that hit central Mexico. / AFP PHOTO / OMAR TORRES        (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)

Frida, a rescue dog belonging to the Mexican Navy, with her handler Israel Arauz Salinas, takes part in the effort to look for people trapped at the Rebsamen school in Mexico City, on September 22, 2017, three days after the devastating earthquake that hit central Mexico. / AFP PHOTO / OMAR TORRES (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)

The rescue dog Frida. AFP photo

With protective goggles fitted under her furry ears and boots on all four paws, Frida wags her tail as she scales the mountains of rubble left by this week’s devastating earthquake in Mexico.

The golden labrador is using her sense of smell to try to detect any survivors left in the wreckage of buildings brought down on Tuesday by the 7.1-magnitude earthquake.

The courageous canine has become iconic in Mexico, a four-legged symbol of the solidarity behind the rescue operations whose fame has been spread on television and social media.

One man in Mexico’s northeast has even had her image tattooed on his arm. And a t-shirt maker is selling a line with her face above the slogan “We can be heroes.”

The dog is part of the Canine Unit of Mexico’s Navy, which has been active at the sites of 39 buildings brought down in the quake.

Frida was notably deployed at a collapsed school in the capital’s south where 19 children and six adults died. Officials say there is still the possibility that an adult is trapped alive in the debris.

“Frida is a specialist in detecting people alive under rubble,” her handler, Petty Officer Israel Arauz told AFP.

In her career, which included being sent to Ecuador for a major earthquake last year, she has saved 12 lives, he said.

When she turns up, many Marines drop their stern military demeanor to rush to pet her and have a photo taken alongside her.

“She brings joy, tenderness and hope. Civilians salute her and applaud her in the street,” said one soldier as he rubbed her belly.

The dog’s personality is “very gentle, but also very strong temperamentally,” Arauz said, adding that she would likely be retired next year when she turns eight.

“For me, it’s an honor to handle her on these missions,” he said.

About Igwilo Emilia

Igwilo Afoma Emilia, popularly known as Emilo, is a fast rising Nigerian musician, song writer and producer. A gifted writer and social commentator, Emilo is one of the strong believers of Democracy, Freedom and Social liberty. Her passion for running a news blog stemmed from her quest for truth and desire to keep the people adequately informed about the realities around them.

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