Labrador Retriever search dog succumbs to heat exhaustion after rescuing seven people in the wake of Ecuador's devastating earthquake.
Dayko, a four-year-old yellow Lab, was a member of the K9 Unit within the Ibarra Fire Department. He had been on several international rescue missions.
While assisting with relief efforts in the coastal tourist town of Pedernales after Ecuador's 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 16, 2016, which has a death toll of more than 650 and rising, Dayko followed his nose to seven trapped individuals, effectively saving their lives.
On April 22, the Ibarra Fire Department reported the somber news on their Facebook page that Dayko died from a heart attack:
"Firefighters say goodbye to one of their four-pawed companions... This canine hero took part in numerous events where he demonstrated his excellent sense of smell, and a touching bond with his guide, Alex Yela, with whom he had a connection unlike any other."
The canine had worked effortlessly in intense heat to retrieve victims from the rubble. Upon his collapse from dehydration and heat exhaustion, a veterinarian and nearby firefighters administered fluids and medications to try to revive him.
Sadly, Dayko did not recover, entering into cardiac arrest early in the morning.
The human rescue team lamented that losing one's life is an unfortunate fate for some members of the search team, both human and canine; it's part of the job. Another dog, Kili, working relief in the tuna fishing capital of the world, Manta, Ecuador, is recovering from a paw injury.
But those who perish are forever remembered for their heroism, and Dayko is no exception.
Dayko's "tender look" and "friendly personality" captured many hearts. He was honored with a burial ceremony on the Ibarra Fire Department's property, where three other Labrador members of his K9 rescue unit were in attendance, along with the human rescue team paying their respects.
All photos via Cuerpo De Bomberos Ibarra Ibarra/Facebook