TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — This photo of one of Taiwan's earthquake search and rescue dogs deployed to Turkey taking a rest on his owner's lap went viral on Sunday (Feb. 12).
Earthquake search and rescue specialist Chou Hsin-wei (周欣維) posted a photo of his sniffer dog Ah Lan (阿蘭) to his Facebook page, gaining nearly 3,000 likes. Describing the Taiwan team's preparations to return home, Chou wrote "The equipment is ready! Downtime while waiting for evacuation!"
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Turkey near the border with Syria on Feb. 6, killing more than 33,000 people. On Feb. 6 and 7, the Taiwan search and rescue team dispatched two groups of personnel, including 40 people and three dogs in the first group, and 90 people and two dogs in the second group.
Among this first wave of dogs was 7-year-old Ah Lan, a mixed-breed canine. From the start of search and rescue operations, Ah Lan worked many hours walking over vast piles of rubble from collapsed buildings in the disaster area in search for survivors.
The team managed to rescue two people alive from the collapsed buildings in Turkey's Adiyaman Province, although one later died. Sato, a 3-year-old Belgian wolfhound from the Taipei Search and Rescue Team, located one of the victims.
Chou was cited by ETtoday as saying that all team members have left the disaster area and "Everyone including the dogs are safe!" The Taiwan search and rescue team is slated to return to Taiwan on Wednesday (Feb. 15).
(Chou Hsin-wei photo)
Video of Ah Lan's last mission in Turkey: