Amatrice bids farewell to Aaron the hero dog

Aaron saved several lives in aftermath of Amatrice earthquake.

"A friend, a colleague, a hero, a member of my family...I have run out of tears."

Francesco Sacco, a dog trainer from Pescara, bid farewell to his dog, an eight-and-a-half year old Rottweiler called Aaron, in a Facebook post.

Aaron was no ordinary dog - as Sacco explained to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera - he was among the first responders in the desperate race to find survivors in the hours after the devastating Amatrice earthquake in 2016.

Aaron, trained in search and rescue operations, was responsible for finding several people buried under the rubble in the aftermath of the 6.2-magnitude earthquake, which killed 299 people.

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Adopted from a kennel in Frosinone when he was just three months old, Aaron was involved in a dozen search and rescue missions over the last four years.

On 11 April, Aaron passed away from cancer.

"We had a few days to realise the gravity of the situation" - said Sacco - "but it was already too late."

Photo Francesco Sacco with Aaron