People the world over were touched by the heartbreaking story of a rescue dog that died after reportedly saving seven people in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in Ecuador last week.
The news quickly went viral after the fire department for the northern city of Ibarra announced the death of 4-year-old Labrador retriever Dayko, who had been with its K-9 unit for three and a half years.
“The Fire Department of Ibarra would like to express a brotherly thanks to all the people who gave us their support, and not only in regards to the death of our beloved canine Dayko,” the department said in a Facebook post.
According to Spanish-language news, such as ABC, Dayko suffered from heat stroke and injuries while braving the flames to find more victims, ultimately succumbing to a heart attack — despite resuscitation attempts by veterinarians and firefighters.
The fire department posted a series of pictures in honor of Dayko that show him searching through the rubble left behind by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 16.
Some lambasted the fire department for working the Labrador to the point of exhaustion. In a subsequent Facebook post, the department defended the handling of its canines.
The earthquake, which has been called the worst in the country’s history, has left more than 600 dead and over 12,000 injured. The United Nations announced Monday that its World Food Programme will distribute food to 260,000 people who are hungry after surviving the chaos.