Mexico’s army welcomed a new search puppy on Wednesday, gifted from Turkey following the death of a Mexican rescue dog who had been helping to find survivors of February’s massive earthquake near the Syrian border.
The 3-month-old German Shepherd will join Mexico’s famed canine unit, specialized in helping locate survivors in a country prone to earthquakes and other natural disasters.
The black and beige canine with perky ears and outsize paws has been named “Arkadas” – meaning “friend” in Turkish – following an online vote.
Arkadas will be trained by the same trainer who cared for Proteo, the rescue dog that died on mission in Turkey, the army said.
Mexico deployed rescue dogs to Turkey after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook a huge area near the southern border with Syria, causing at least 54,000 deaths across both nations.
Mexico paid homage to Proteo, also a German Shepherd, at a military funeral earlier this year.
Wearing a padded green harness featuring a tiny Mexican flag, Arkadas was welcomed to the force in a formal ceremony at a military base in Mexico City on Wednesday, joined by his new canine and human colleagues, standing to attention.
The excitable pup barked as Mexico’s national anthem blared out from speakers.
“Thanks to my friends from Mexico who welcomed me with great affection, I promise to do my best to be a great search and rescue dog,” the Mexican defense ministry tweeted on behalf of Arkadas.