© 2022 WGLT
NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mexico pays tribute to Frida, the golden labrador who saved lives

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

Mexico lost a hero this week. Frida was a golden Labrador. And over her career as a rescue dog, she worked earthquakes and natural disasters in Mexico, Haiti and Ecuador. NPR's Eyder Peralta has this remembrance.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: Frida became a superstar as Mexicans picked up the pieces following devastating earthquakes in 2017. She was shown on national TV running toward the rubble.

She wore goggles and little rubber booties, and she sniffed out survivors. Over the course of her career, she saved 12 people and helped recover the bodies of almost 50 people.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)

PERALTA: And she melted hearts. Sometimes, as she moved across Mexico City on the back of military trucks, Mexicans gathered and clapped.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GRACIAS")

KANKEL: (Singing in Spanish).

PERALTA: The singer songwriter Kankel went into a studio with his guitar and made a song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GRACIAS")

KANKEL: (Singing in Spanish).

PERALTA: "Frida, you're a hero without a cape, more than Superman, no doubt," he sang.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GRACIAS")

KANKEL: (Singing in Spanish).

PERALTA: Kankel says what struck him is that amid all of this darkness emerged this golden dog.

KANKEL: (Speaking Spanish).

PERALTA: Frida was giving unconditional love, Kankel says, and she also helped change the way Mexicans view dogs. Suddenly, they were intelligent, heroic beings.

KANKEL: (Speaking Spanish).

PERALTA: "Every day," he says, "humanity is getting closer to animals, understanding their complexity." Frida died on Tuesday at the age of 13. She retired in 2019, and at the time, the Mexican Marines held a full ceremony for her. Admiral Eduardo Redondo Aramburo said her bark brought hope.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

EDUARDO REDONDO ARAMBURO: (Speaking Spanish).

PERALTA: "Without saying a word," he said, "Frida proved that hope lives in all of us. And that's why we should never give up."

(APPLAUSE)

PERALTA: Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Mexico City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.