Mexico City - SAR and Docky, two of the few dogs in the world that are trained to perform search and rescue operations at sea, were part of the attractions at the Mexican Navy's Expo Mar 2015, which was held in Mexico City last month.
In 2013, the then three-month-old Belgian Malinois shepherd puppies were donated to the Navy by the state coordination of Boys Scout of Mexico. At that time CGECEE Commander, José Waldo Bathrooms Vazquez, announced that Mexico would become the second country in Latin America - and the world - whose Navy would train dogs for marine rescue work, second only to Colombia.
After being trained in water rescue maneuvers for more that two years, SAR (who was named using the English acronym for "search and rescue") and Docky are now part of the water rescue unit of the Mexican Navy.
Part of the project included the creation of life jackets with a special mechanism that, once activated by a lifeguard or the dog itself, would make the animal more buoyant and capable of doing more.
The general public had the opportunity to meet the dogs that make up the unprecedented water rescue unit in Mexico at last month's Expo Mar 2015, where they entertained visitors, like 10-year-old Silvia. "They are like a St. Bernards, but in the sea," she marveled as she listened to an explanation given by the dog's handler, a Navy scuba diver.
Corvette Captain Luis Bernardo Villarreal explained that the Navy's high command is tasked with keeping people safe at sea through its 19 search, rescue and surveillance stations, manned by highly qualified human — and now canine — personnel.
The Navy also monitors Mexico's coastlines, protects endangered species and conducts patrols at strategic facilities. It is also one of the first responders in natural disasters.
The Expo Mar 2015 event was intended to strengthen ties between the Navy and the public through 10 interactive modules that highlight its attributions and missions. Most of those who attended were children and teenagers, who were given the chance to try their hand at tying intricate knots, learn about marine species through painting, operate a ship on a simulator, and experience what it is like to be a crew member on a naval ship - and go home with a souvenir cap.Original article translated and edited by Lorena Francesca fro BanderasNews.com.