Frida the disaster rescue dog is a social media star. Not only is she just generally a good dog (perhaps one of the goodest), she is going above and beyond by trying to find survivors after the devastating 7.1 earthquake in Mexico City this week. But tales of her heroics so far have been a bit exaggerated.
It’s easy to see why people are confused. News outlets like Buzzfeed News have published videos claiming that Frida has saved over 50 people in Mexico. But she hasn’t found anyone yet in the rubble of this most recent quake. Not yet, anyway. A lot of people have gotten the wrong idea.
In reality, the 52 people that Frida has found is the total number found over her entire career with the Mexican Navy’s canine unit. And most people she’s found haven’t been recovered alive.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Frida is the star of the Mexican navy’s Canine Unit. Throughout her career, the 7-year-old Labrador has detected 52 people—12 alive—in various natural disasters.
She detected the body of a police officer in Juchitan after an earthquake hit the state of Oaxaca two weeks ago.
Again, this doesn’t mean that Frida isn’t doing amazing work. It’s just that this big game of Telephone we call the internet has gotten some facts mixed up.
As the LA Times points out, fifteen dogs in total have been deployed to Mexico City in an effort to both rescue survivors and find the bodies of those who have died. 274 people have been confirmed dead so far, and that number is expected to grow as Frida and humans search through the devastated city.
Social media really loves Frida, who really stands out with her adorable protection goggles and her blue boots. But Twitter and Facebook have helped spread the misleading stats about what she’s accomplished during this most recent earthquake in Mexico.
In one popular tweet from Fluff Society, it’s claimed that Frida “has saved 52 people so far in Mexico’s Earthquake.” But that’s not quite right.
There are a number of videos on YouTube showing how Frida (who, yes, is named after painter Frida Kahlo) and her fellow canine heroes are trained. And I recommend watching every single one of them.
Seriously, there are a lot of videos.
Frida and her friends are great dogs. But Frida hasn’t rescued 52 people. She’s rescued 12 people alive over her entire career, which is definitely 12 more than I have. So thank you for your service, Frida. We salute you.