Remembering the Hero Dog That Died After Rescuing 7 People From Earthquake Rubble

September 16, 2019 Updated: September 19, 2019

Dayko was a 4-year-old Labrador trained in emergency rescue and worked at the Ibara Fire Station in Ecuador for three and a half years. The dog was described by his co-rescuers as a hardworking, loving, and loyal companion.

On April 16, 2016, a terrible earthquake shook Ecuador, toppling buildings and ripping roads apart. Not caring for his own life, the dog searched for survivors, digging in the rubble, trying to save as many lives as possible. His amazing story of courage highlighted his great dedication and honesty, a difficult trait to find.

"This four legged friend gave his life in the line of duty. Thank you Dayko for your heroic efforts," local firefighters wrote on Facebook.

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The 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed at least 668 people, injured thousands, and buried a lot of people under many piles of rubble. Dayko carried out his duty—tirelessly searching and trying to rescue as many people as possible continuously for several days. Full of love and devotion towards mankind, in total, Dayko saved the lives of seven people.

Suddenly, Dayko passed out from severe exhaustion while searching for more survivors. As his colleagues relate, he suddenly collapsed, suffering from a heat stroke. Veterinarians tried their best to save him but were unsuccessful. This gentle and beautiful white Labrador had lost his own life in the process of saving the lives of seven people buried in the rubble.

TOPSHOT – Rescue workers work to pull out survivors trapped in a collapsed building after a huge earthquake struck in the city of Manta early on April 17, 2016. (©Getty Images | ARIEL OCHOA)

Dayko paid no attention to his own signs of exhaustion and continued on with the job, but with this dedication, he paid for it with his life.

According to the fire station’s Facebook post, Dayko’s death was caused by a massive coronary myocardial infarction and acute respiratory failure, and he lost his life in the process.

His colleagues at the fire department find it hard to accept the loss of their dear friend. Still grieving over their colleague’s death, Ibara Fire Station wrote on their Facebook page: “We regret to inform you that today the [fire service] is in mourning because [we] just lost Dayko who participated in the work of searching in Pedernales.”

“This four legged friend gave his life in the line of duty. Thank you Dayko for your heroic efforts in Pedernales and in various emergencies where you were present,” the fire department added. “You held high the name of the K9 unit.”

According to staff, Dayko had developed a very strong bond with Alex Yela, his handler.

“One time he dragged me all the way to a lake cause he loved water,” fireman Alex Yela said, according to Express.

“Luckily I had a ball with me to draw him out of there, cause there was no power in this world that could get him out of a swim.”

Dayko was also known for his unbelievable charisma and good sense of smell.

“Dayko captivated us all with his tender look and his friendly nature,” Ibara Fire Department wrote.

Due to his remarkable qualities, he was able to detect many people trapped under the rubble and save them.

Dayko was given a proper burial, and the rescue staff expressed their thanks and a final farewell to their selfless colleague who lost his life in the line of duty.

The heroic Dayko will be remembered for his great courage and dedication to his job. The people saved by him will forever remember and be grateful to this very brave and selfless dog.

Watch Dayko’s video here:

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