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Thor, the cutest bomb dog in Mexico’s Lower Chamber
Thor is still in training – Photos: Germán Espinosa/EL UNIVERSAL

Thor, the cutest bomb dog in Mexico’s Lower Chamber

23/11/2019
14:39
Mexico City
Alejandra Canchola
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With only fifteen months of age, the Belgian Malinois puppy has started its training as one of the six dogs trained for the detection of explosives

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Thor is the new member of the Canine Unit of Mexico’s Lower House. With only one year and three months of age, the Belgian Malinois puppy has started its training as one of the six dogs trained for the detection of explosive substances and artifacts to preserve the security of those who visit and work in the legislative venue.

According to information made public by San Lázaro in the National Transparency Platform, Thor arrived at his new home at the beginning of May, after a process of direct adjudication for MXN $107,880 paid to its first owner.

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Its caregiver, in charge of the San Lázaro Canine Unit, Sergio Cruz, said to EL UNIVERSAL that to carry out the adjudication, their first called individuals and companies that offered a dog trained in at least three odors of explosives detection.
 

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“It’s like a bidding because we call them, they send us their quote and the characteristics of the animal; we choose five and give them an appointment to be assessed. The assessment consists of three basic search exercises, one per odor,” he added.

In the assessment, the workers of the Canine Unit check out the dog is not afraid of recognizing the odors and the time it takes it to identify them. During the test, they are filmed and evaluators fill a registry with observations.

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The results are delivered to the Safeguard and Security Board and they specify which was the best. Sergio Cruz commented that the most important for a dog to be chosen is for it to be social and calm.
 

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In the four months he has been living in the Lower Chamber, Thor, also known as Canelo, has shown to be social even with children, for the Children Development Center (Cendi) organized a summer camp in which the kids were able to visit the games and training area of the Canine Unit and he was one of the favorites.

The puppy is guaranteed for a year, if he could not completely adapt to his work as a vigilant, it can be replaced by another animal trained to detect explosives.

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The training. The six dogs of the Canine United of the Lower Chamber are trained to detect nine odors of explosive material. Their training, once they are admitted, consists of making them susceptible to detect six extra odors.

Activities are based on games and physical activity in open areas, there are also rounds in closed spaces, outside the venue, and in hard-to-reach places, such as the garbage area.
 

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“If the dog is afraid of detecting odors, most probably the obedience training was made with punishments, but here we do it with their toys. It’s important because here they have contact with many people, they need to know how to be among them without fear so that they are not aggressive,” said Cruz.

Thor joined the family of Jako, Mario, and Óscar, which are also Belgian Malinois, and of Lucas, and Blackie, a golden retriever, and a black labrador, respectively. Each one has its pair, who have worked in the Canine Unit of the extinct Prosecutor’s General Office (PGR) and in the Search and Rescue Canine Unit of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
 

“After the S19 earthquake we thought of giving the dogs a rescue training (…) we believe that training them in that aspect would be a way of collaborating with the community,” added Sergio Cruz.
 

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The work. When Thor completes his training he will be able to join his friends. In the morning and the afternoon, the six pairs make a tour inside and outside the Lower Chamber; during early mornings, they check out vulnerable points.

Since 7:00, the dogs make rounds in the perimeter of the venue, the basement, and the parking lots. From 9:00 they make a tour in the offices of the parliamentary groups, the assembly hall, and the Aurora Jiménez auditorium. In the afternoon they do three rounds through the open areas and the administrative offices; they perform two of them along with a pair of the Federal Police, and one on their own.
 

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The director of Safeguard and Security, Isidiro Junco, said to EL UNIVERSAL that they want to give a better life quality to the dogs, for most of them arrive when they are still puppies and retire when they are between eight and nine years old.

“They have a better life quality than in other institutions. Their cages are big and they go out for periods of 45 minutes to play and run. They have their own toys and a special diet,” he added.

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