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2019-10-04 02:42:58  + video 

The passing of a 14-year-old rescue dog put netizens in a reflective mood Thursday, calling to mind one of the most devastating natural disasters in living memory just days after the nation celebrated its 70th anniversary.

Shen Hu passed away Sunday, according to the dog’s owner, retired firefighter Shen Peng. The canine was the last living rescue dog to have seen action in the aftermath of the devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.

Shen Peng first posted the news to popular microblogging platform Weibo Monday. The story gained widespread attention after China’s Ministry of Emergency Management reposted a memorial video to its official Weibo account Thursday morning.

“Shen Hu left us on Sept. 29, aged 14. That’s equivalent to 98 in human years. Farewell to our silent comrade on the fire and rescue team,” the ministry’s post reads.

A video tribute to Shen Hu. From @退休老干部沈虎 on Weibo

Shen Hu — or “Tiger Shen” — is credited with helping save 15 lives in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.9 Wenchuan earthquake, which left more than 80,000 dead or missing in the southwestern province of Sichuan in May 2008.

As rescue efforts got underway, 67 search dogs were sent to the affected area. The animals were credited with helping save 302 lives and find 1,700 of the victims. Shen Hu, who was 2 years old at the time, was the last member of the rescue dog team to pass away.

The dog first went viral in 2016, when Shen Peng retired and adopted him. According to The Beijing News, Shen Hu suffered serious heart and lung damage, as well as weight loss and a leg injury in the line of duty. After the pair retired, Shen Peng walked Shen Hu by pushing the dog around in a cart.

The news of Shen Hu’s passing spread quickly Thursday, and related Weibo hashtags had received hundreds of millions of views and tens of thousands of replies by publication time. “Salute to the silent hero,” reads one widely reposted comment. “Perhaps your breed will be included in the next parade” another poster wrote, referring to Tuesday’s massive 70th anniversary celebrations.

Other users took the opportunity to reflect on the human toll of the earthquake, which also featured heavily in the recently released film “My People, My Country.” “Eleven years on, I still remember the Wenchuan earthquake,” wrote one. “That year so many regions were asking for donations. Everyone was praying for peace.”

Shen Hu was cremated, according to the dog’s official Weibo account.

Editor: Kilian O’Donnell.

(Header image: Shen Peng hugs his pet rescue dog, Shen Hu. From @南京消防 on Weibo)