After a major catastrophe or tragedy, Mister Rogers’ famous advice is to “look for the helpers”; it can be encouraging in the darkest hours to see responders doing what they can to help.
A dog, a Mexican rescue dog named Proteo, assisted in the search for survivors in the rubble following the devastating earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria and were the deadliest in more than ten years.
One of the ten search dogs sent to Turkey to help in the wake of the devastating earthquakes on February 6 was Proteo, a rescue dog with Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defense. Over 41,000 deaths have been confirmed as a result of the event so far.
Proteo’s task was to look for survivors among the debris; this was a crucial task given the large number of missing persons. Proteo tragically passed away while on duty.
His death’s precise circumstances are still unknown. The Sun claims that he was killed by debris while attempting to save children in Turkey.
Since hearing the tragic news of Proteo’s passing, the dog’s coworkers have honoured him and hailed him as a hero.
“As members of the Mexican Army and Air Force, we are deeply saddened by the loss of our great comrade, the dog named Proteo,” the secretariat of national defense wrote in a statement. “You fulfilled your duty as a part of the Mexican team in the search and rescue efforts we carried out for our brothers in Turkey. Thank you for your heroic work.”
The crew is seen paying tribute to the late Proteo in another video. After observing a moment of silence for the deceased dog, they applaud him.
They posted on Twitter, “Today we say goodbye with honour to a great canine… who always worked with courage.”
Hoy despedimos con honores a un gran canino, elemento de la @SEDENAmx que siempre trabajo con valentía y arrojo.— Cruz Roja Mexicana IAP (@CruzRoja_MX) February 12, 2023
Gracias “PROTEO” cuidamos desde un mejor lugar y guía a nuestros binomios en cada búsqueda. pic.twitter.com/1AzTGtjf8A
Local graphic designer Burak Türker also paid tribute to Proteo by creating a digital portrait that remembered him as a hero.
The artist wrote, “Thanks for everything Proteo,” the artist wrote. “We are grateful to you for finding our… brothers and our loved ones. We will never forget you.”
After tragic events like this, rescue dogs like Proteo have a way of inspiring people. The most well-known is arguably Mexico’s Frida, who gained fame following a devastating earthquake in 2017. She received numerous honours, including her own statue, before passing away in November.