A rescue dog that helped save lives after a powerful earthquake toppled buildings in Mexico City in 2017 has retired after eight years’ service.
The Australian shepherd, named Zorro, was honored Saturday in a retirement ceremony in Tequisquiapan, Querétaro, where he was a member of the volunteer fire department. Emergency services personnel and other citizens also paid tribute to the dog’s owner, Mirco Gallina, an Italian native who collaborated with Zorro on countless rescue operations.
One of the most important missions the pair participated in was the response to the September 2017 earthquake, which caused extensive damage in Mexico City and other parts of central Mexico. Zorro is credited with helping to save the lives of nine people who were trapped beneath rubble in the capital.
Gallina told attendees at Saturday’s ceremony that Zorro started work as a rescue dog in Italy, where “we mainly worked in mountains and forests.”
“He didn’t rescue anyone in Italy because the times we went out to work the people [we were attempting to save] unfortunately died,” he said.
Zorro and his master subsequently moved to Mexico where they continued their rescue work. “In the 2017 earthquake he rescued nine people alive,” he said. “Being here is very cool and very emotional,” Gallina said before thanking those present for the affection they have shown Zorro.