Thursday, June 13, 2024

Turkish puppy to join Mexico’s canine search and rescue unit

The Turkish government has donated a German Shepherd puppy to Mexico’s government as a gesture of gratitude for its help after February’s earthquake, the worst to hit Turkey in more than 20 years.

“Welcome to your new home, puppy!” the Defense Ministry (Sedena) tweeted upon the puppy’s arrival to Mexico City International Airport (AICM) early on Tuesday, after a 13-hour flight from Istanbul.

Turkey said it hoped the three-month old puppy would “carry on the legacy” of Proteo, a Mexican German Shepherd search and rescue dog who died on duty while searching for survivors in Turkey’s affected zone. Before his death, Proteo had managed to locate a man and a woman from under the debris. 

During their six-day mission to Turkey, Mexican rescue teams and members of the Ministry of the Navy (Semar), the Mexican Red Cross and the army located four survivors and rescued the bodies of 29 deceased people.

On April 24, Sedena announced that a Turkish puppy would be joining Mexico’s aid team.

“This puppy will be guided by our canine teams, who will instruct him in the field of search and rescue, with the promise of following in the footsteps of  a story of loyalty, heroism and love,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that “humanitarian aid knows no limits or borders.”

SEDENA instructional graphic on how to vote on Facebook for the name of the military's new rescue dog.
Through a Facebook poll, the Defense Ministry offered the public a chance to vote on the new puppy’s name. At time of writing, Arkadas – Turkish for “friend” – led by 14,000 votes. (Sedena/Twitter)

Mexico’s rescue dogs gained international recognition for their work in the wake of the September 19, 2017 earthquake that toppled several buildings and killed hundreds in and around Mexico City. But it was Frida, a Labrador Retriever rescue dog who died of old age last year, who won the hearts of Mexicans for her search and rescue work in the aftermath of the earthquake. 

Sedena has posted on Twitter to ask the public to cast votes to select one of three names for the Turkish puppy: Proteo II, Arkadas (Turkish for “friend”) or Yardim (“help”).

The vote is open until 9 p.m. Tuesday night on Sedena’s Facebook page. At time of writing, “Arkadas” led the way with more than 14,000 votes. 

With reports from the BBC, El Universal and Infobae

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