A new four-legged recruit has joined Mexico City’s security forces.
Niki, a four-month-old Belgian shepherd, is the newest addition to the canine unit at Mexico City’s Citizen Security Ministry (SSC).
The pup is being trained for search and rescue tasks in natural disasters, such as earthquakes.
Some of her 18 furry companions will instead be trained to detect explosives or drugs.
A trainer at the canine unit, Lucía San Juan, said Niki already felt part of the team.
“She’s a very active puppy. She’s in very good hands … we will give her family warmth and training that prepares her to help citizens.”
She added that she was already well acquainted with Niki.
“If I go out, she goes out with me. If I stay inside, she stays by my side. In some obedience training, we work together constantly,” San Juan explained.
“Or even when I go on break, she goes with me. The idea is to live together as a family … What I can tell citizens is that we learn to understand the animals. Since we are part of the same family, the best thing we can do is take care of them and love them,” she said.
San Juan added that progress would be slow with Niki. “We have already started her training. However, as she is still a four-month-old dog, we cannot demand much more than strokes and games.”
The canine unit’s first task is to help Niki conquer her fear of heights.
An SSC official, Daniel Álvarez, said it was vital to train the pups from a young age. “Initially, we recruit all the dogs when they are puppies. We socialize them in the environment, so that in the future when they go out on public duties they are clued in and can do a good job,” he said.
With reports from Milenio