MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Frida, the rescue dog who emerged as a hero and symbol of national pride after an earthquake devastated parts of Mexico in 2017, died on Tuesday of natural causes, the Mexican Navy said.
Known for her custom-made doggy goggles and boots, Frida became a social media star and a symbol of Mexicans' resilience in the face of tragedy after the 2017 earthquake that killed hundreds in and around Mexico City.
Though her feats were prone to online rumors, the Navy said Frida, who retired from service in 2019, rescued a dozen people and located the bodies of 43 people over nearly a decade.
Frida began her rescue work after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where she found 12 people alive in the rubble. She also assisted rescue efforts after a landslide in Ecuador in 2017, just months before the Mexico City earthquake that saw her become a national icon.
Shortly after her birth in 2009, Frida began her search and rescue training, which she finished in a record eight months, the Navy said.
The Navy remembers Frida for her "independence, concentration, balanced temperament, fearlessness, curiosity," as well as her "empathy towards people."
Frida has "given hope to thousands of Mexican families in the most pressing moments," the head of Mexico's Navy, Jose Rafael Ojeda, said in the statement.
A life-size statue in Frida's honor was unveiled last month outside the Navy's main office in the Mexico City neighborhood of Coyoacan, with Frida present in what would be one of her last public appearances.
"Your life motivates us to continue giving everything to serve Mexico," the statue reads. "Thank you dear Frida!"
(Reporting by Brendan O'Boyle; Editing by Leslie Adler)