When a 7.1 magnitude earthquake crumbled Mexico City in September 2017, Frida, a 7-year-old Labrador retriever, went to work. The linchpin of the Mexican navy's canine unit, Frieda scoured the city's shattered buildings sniffing out survivors trapped under the rubble. She was on the scene when rescuers found 11 children lodged under the detritus of what was the Enrique Rebsamen School. Two weeks earlier, she helped find the body of a police officer after an earthquake rocked the state of Oaxaca [sources: Castillo, Fox News].
Frida is no ordinary barker. She is the grande dame of rescue dogs. When a natural disaster or some other calamity strikes, younger dogs are told to sniff out the living or the dead. If the dogs detect a person, rescuers let Frida loose to confirm their findings. If she barks, someone is alive. If she finds a corpse, she suddenly stops, before moving very cautiously. It's not easy work. Frida has to crawl through spaces that humans cannot navigate, but as of 2017, she's detected 52 people and found 12 alive [sources: Castillo, Fox News].
Such exploits have made Frida a cult hero in Mexico. She's a Twitter sensation too, with fans saying she is a symbol of hope during times of tragedy. She also helps train new dogs on how to find survivors in natural disasters.
Other Great Links
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In rat-infested New York City, the dogs of R.A.T.S. are working to rid the city of its burgeoning rat problem. HowStuffWorks goes along for the ride.