How rescue dog Frida became symbol of hope after Mexican earthquake

This is the photogenic yellow Labrador who has gained an international social media following in the wake of the Mexico earthquake.

(Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Frida was helping with the rescue efforts after the September 19 earthquake hit, claiming the lives of at least 344 people.

With her protective goggles and neoprene booties to keep her paws safe, Frida became a symbol of hope for many in Mexico – even if she didn’t rescue anyone personally – and it’s not hard to see why.

(Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

“In social terms, this dog functioned like a transitional object because maybe she didn’t help us in anything real or concrete — meaning she didn’t rescue anyone — but she let us feel like there was hope and that there were things that could help us,” said Fatima Laborda, a psychoanalyst and director of Casa Grana, a psychological assistance and research organisation.

In traumatic situations like war or natural disaster, people tend to seek refuge in something real or symbolic to regain confidence and a feeling of safety, explained Laborda.

A rescuer literally removing rocks to free you is one way to feel helped, she said, but someone can also “feel supported by merely seeing people in the street, because that way I feel the solidarity of everyone else and that is symbolic and also can give me psychological relief”.

(Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Frida has been working in rescue for six years and has even travelled abroad, helping the rescue effort in Haiti in 2010 and in Ecuador in 2016.

Earlier in September, she was dispatched to the southern Mexico town of Juchitan that sustained damage in a magnitude 8.1 quake.

During her career, she has found 41 bodies and 12 people alive.

Her star status skyrocketed when her employer – the Mexican navy – posted pictures and videos of her at work.

Among those retweeting the video was the office of the Mexican president and Captain America actor Chris Evans, who reposted it adding: “What did we do to deserve dogs?”

On Facebook, groups of knitters offered designs inspired by Frida, with the earnings going to earthquake relief efforts.

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