It’s tough to be a TSA worker. It’s a relatively low paying job with little chance for significantly climbing up the corporate ladder. Lots of people yell at them throughout their shift. Training is minimal, morale is low and turnover is high. In fact, an audit of the Homeland Security Department pretty much showed the backstory of why TSA officers can be so rude and irritating.
However some members of the TSA team are not under the same pressures – the TSA National Explosive Detection Canine Unit. These highly trained, hard-working dogs detect explosives and, as per a TSA.gov fact sheet, provide a visible deterrent to terrorism directed towards transportation systems.
The dogs are chosen and trained carefully. Those who “don’t make the cut” are put up for adoption. Those who graduate from the program have the good life – they work hard, sniffing out explosives and getting to play with their favorite Kong toy or ball when they do the right thing.
However all good things come to an end and even working dogs retire.
TTirado, a 10-1/2 year old Labrador Retriever, was an explosive detection canine at Indianapolis International Airport (IND). He retired on May 29, after an eight-year career with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
As per a TSA press release, “TTirado is named in honor of New York Engine 23 Firefighter Hector Luis Tirado, Jr., who died in service on 9/11 [ETA: Canines named that way are identified with a double letter at the beginning of their name]. At 10½ years old, TTirado is one of the few remaining dogs across the country that were part of the TSA-bred puppy program, and in 2012, graduated in the third class of passenger screening canines trained at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.”
Ttirado’s handler, Keith Gray, planned a special surprise for him on his last day, in the form of a very special reward for his final bag search:
Ttirado must’ve thought he was in puppy heaven 😉
When the video of Ttirado’s last bag search was originally posted on Twitter, the response was so high that Gray submitted one more video to thank everyone, and to show some other big news:
UPDATE: Keith Gray, TTirado’s handler, wanted to share his thanks for the overwhelming support over the last couple days and share some other big news. Check out their video (w/ special guest 🐶)! pic.twitter.com/KqJMQGIl8r
— Mark Howell (@TSAMedia_MarkH) June 18, 2020
Gray says that he has 3 travel goals for TTirado – to go to NYC visit the Ground Zero Memorial and FDNY Station 23 (that’s where Hector Tirado worked), Atlanta to meet one of Hector’s sons and his family (they’ve kept in touch), and finally to San Antonio to see Ttirado’s foster family who helped raise him during his puppy years.
Ttirado has been adopted by Gray and his family and will live out his retirement with them in Indianapolis. Gray’s new partner, Ari (he’s a German Shorthair Pointer), will keep him up to date at what’s happening at ‘the office.” 😉
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary