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Proteo, a rescue dog sent from Mexico to Turkey, dies in the field



Proteo, the rescue dog who died in the line of duty

Dolors Massot - published on 02/25/23

Proteo, one of the rescue dogs sent to help search for victims affected by the earthquake, helped save lives.

In mid-February, SEDENA (Mexico’s Secretary of National Defense) announced the death of Proteo, a German shepherd and one of the rescue dogs sent to help search for victims in the region of Turkey affected by the earthquake earlier this month. The BBC reported on the deployment of canine teams from Mexico:

Mexican officials say their mission is “to save lives” and while the dogs can detect the smell of bodies as well as that of those who are buried under the rubble alive, the hope is that their quick deployment will result in rescues rather than recoveries.

Image released by SEDENA

The work of the rescue dogs was of vital importance during days in which international teams were working against the clock to find as many people alive as possible. Even 12 days after the earthquake, people were still being found alive under the rubble.

Proteo participated in saving two people who were trapped under buildings.

Readers may remember our coverage of Frida, another Mexican rescue dog who saved lives in the wake of the 2017 earthquake in Mexico. Fortunately, Friday survived her dangerous work to die of old age last year.

“You fulfilled your mission as a member of the Mexican delegation in the search and rescue of our brothers in Turkey. Thank you for your heroic work!” said the Secretaria de la Defensa Nacional (Sedena). 

While it was first believed that Proteo died in a building collapse during a rescue, his trainer, Carlos Villeda Maquez, explained that other factors were responsible for the dog’s death. The conditions – including the brutally cold temperatures — were very harsh for the almost 10- year-old Proteo. As reported in Mundo Now,

“The cause of his death was not due to a landslide; the prevailing weather conditions in that country, as well as his age, mattered a lot, and the trip, without a doubt, was quite long for him,” said Villeda Máquez, an active member of the Sedena, in an interview with Multimedios Channel 6.

Mexico’s Ministry of National Defense announced on social media that Proteo’s body would be transported back to Mexico where he will be laid to rest as a hero, according to Expansión Política.

“Proteo, we are waiting for you at home, because a soldier, when completing his mission, returns to his home, to our beautiful and beloved Mexico. Your colleagues from the Mexican Army and Mexican Air Force are proud of you, our great hero,” the agency tweeted.

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