Ecko and Evil, the Mexican four-legged heroes keeping beloved rescue dog Frida’s legacy alive

Along with beloved dog Frida, Ecko and Evil helped Mexicans after the earthquakes that took place on September 2017

Ecko and Evil, the Mexican four-legged heroes keeping beloved rescue dog Frida’s legacy alive
Ecko and Evil are highly trained dogs - Photo: Juan Boites/EL UNIVERSAL
English 18/09/2020 14:59 Manuel Espino Mexico City Actualizada 19:51
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Ecko and Evil are two of the rescue dogs of Mexicos Navy Ministry (SEMAR) that substituted the now-retired dog Frida, the heroine in rescue tasks during the earthquakes of September 2017.

They belong to the Dog Department of the General Quarter of the SEMAR's High Command, comprised of 20 specimens, most of which are of the Belgian Malinois breed. Eight of them are trained in drug detection, eight in explosives, two in search, and two in tracking missing people.

They are brothers and they worked along with Frida in the 2017 earthquakes and, after her retirement, they were in charge of the search tasks during any emergency situation that requires their presence. They are three years old and are highly trained.

In order to commemorate the third anniversary of the earthquakes that took places on September 7 and 19, 2017, the Unit of Urban Search and Rescue of the SEMAR performed a drill of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake with its epicenter in the city of Puebla at the logistics facilities of the federal agency, east of Mexico City. During the exercise with their trainers, Ecko and Evil showed their search skills in the hypothesis of a collapsed building where they rescued two victims from the rubble.

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In the framework of the third anniversary of the earthquakes of September 7 and 19, 2017, Ecko and Evil participated in an earthquake drill.

Second master Israel Arau Salinas has trained Ecko for six months and he considers it a very agile dog, with a lot of energy who does not like to remain still.

“He’s an agile dog, he demands works, he doesn’t like to lie down, and he’s a dog that likes his work and does it very well and is always ready to do what he has been taught. He has a lot of energy,” said the dog trainer after the drill.

He explains that with another dog trainer, Ecko participated in the search and rescue tasks in Juchitán, Oaxaca, one of the hardest-hit municipalities by the September 2017 earthquake, and then joined the tasks in Mexico City.
 

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“So far, the only marking done by Ecko was in Juchitán, where he was able to locate a person who died on the earthquake that took place on September 7, 2017.

“Along with his brother, Evil, they are two operational dogs that attend any emergency situation where they are needed,” said the trainer.

Arau Salinas, who trained Frida for four years, asserts that his challenge with Ecko is to replicate all the good things he experienced with the retired dog in order to keep helping the population whenever it is needed.

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“A lot of learning, many good memories, good anecdotes, and now, working with Ecko, replicate the good things left by those experiences in order to keep helping the population. Each dog we train is different, so it’s a very nice experience,” he says.

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“The experience I remember the most was of the 2015 earthquake in Ecuador, where we found the bodies of a family, the position in which they were found, that cannot be forgotten, that time, it was with Frida,” he remembers.

For his part, the Naval Health Service Lieutenant  Juan Carlos Macías Peña, who was the commander during the earthquake drill, asserts that the Unit of Urban Search and Rescue is comprised of 28 elements (21 men and seven women) trained in vertical rescue, aquatic rescue, and search and rescue in collapsed structures.
 

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“Each drill we perform reinforces our skills, both operation and of mobilization, and with that, we strengthen the training within the unit, whose volunteer team has different specializations, in addition to the work we perform daily,” added the also nurse of Naval Health.

Lastly, the lieutenant said that the Unit of Urban Search and Rescue has created five years ago in order to have a specialized team to strengthen the tasks to help the population as established in the Navy’s Plan.

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