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TSA Canine Gets Explosive Retirement Sendoff

TSA Canine Gets Explosive Retirement Sendoff
Joe Cortez

After eight years of service with the Transportation Security Administration, explosive detection canine TTirado received a big celebration for his retirement. After his final bag search, the dog received a reward of 500 tennis balls from his pals at Indianapolis Airport.

The life of a Transportation Security Administration canine is work focused, as they sniff bags for explosive devices and components to keep the public safe. But going into retirement, one hard-working pup got a sendoff that was all play. Indianapolis Airport (IND) rewarded explosive detection canine TTirado with a 500-tennis ball salute to celebrate his eight years of service.

Big Rewards for a Good Boy

TTirado is considered one of the TSA’s “legacy canines,” graduating from the third class of the TSA Puppy Program at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The TSA now recruits canines from outside programs.

He went into service in 2012, starting at Indianapolis Airport, but going wherever duty called. His nose supported major events throughout the Indianapolis area and beyond, including Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four championship games, and presidential inaugurations.

“Dogs work as a deterrent,” TSA spokesperson Mark Howell told FlyerTalk. “They are really good at what they do. They are trained to have a passive response, because we don’t want to startle someone who has a device with them. It alerts us to let everyone else know that there’s a potential threat there, and they get rewarded there afterwards.”

TTirado was named after Hector Luis Tirado, Jr., a New York City firefighter with Engine 23 who was killed on 9/11. TSA canines named after heroes lost in the war on terror are given a double-capital at the beginning of their names. Now that he’s retired, handler Keith Gray is planning a trip with TTirado to the firehouse where Hector worked, the World Trade Center Memorial, and even a reunion with Hector’s son.

Retirement Celebration Breaks the Internet

In the 24 hours since TTirado’s retirement celebration went online, it quickly became an “explosive” hit. The short video has over 3,000 retweets and 15,000 likes on Twitter, and got an even bigger celebration on Reddit’s r/aww. According to Howell, giving their canines a retirement celebration is a tradition, and this one was slightly bigger than the last.

“The way these dogs are trained, they live for the ball,” Howell explained. “That dog hits on the bag, and the reason it hits because once it picks the scent up, it knows there’s a reward coming. In the dog’s case, he probably didn’t know it was 500 tennis balls.”

TTirado will live out the rest of his days with his handler in Indianapolis, who will formally adopt the dog. Everyone who has seen the video wishes TTirado the happiest of retirements with his family.

View Comments (2)


  1. flyinpup

    June 19, 2020 at 11:41 am

    Awwww, so cute! A much needed feel-good story!

  2. kkua

    June 21, 2020 at 9:23 am

    There should be a followup story where retired working dogs end up.

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