These Dogs Are the Bomb: Adopt a Retired TSA Canine


This is Toro, an explosives detection canine who’s based at the San Francisco International Airport, going for training on Alcatraz Island. Many of his former colleagues are up for adoption. (Photo: TSA/Instagram)

Contrary to what we usually expect from the anger-and-frustration inducing agency, the TSA is about to induce an entirely new reaction from travelers. Something that goes along with the sound “awwww!”

The source? The TSA’s surprisingly sweet adoption program, wherein bomb-sniffing dogs that have been retired from airport security duties, or deemed “unsuitable for training” are available for adoption through the TSA Canine Adoption program.

We’re not sure what makes a dog unsuitable for TSA duties — maybe it was too friendly and trusting? (View from the Wing has some other ideas.) But we’re sure that any kid would be happy to have their parents bring home a pet with such a bad-ass pedigree. Unless, of course, they’re a teenager hiding drugs in their bedroom.

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Not surprisingly, since this is the TSA, there is a screening process. Not just anyone can adopt these specially trained canines. You have to be a good match and have “acceptable housing arrangements.” You must be willing to fly (on your own dime) to San Antonio, Texas, to pick up your new best friend. And you must be willing to deal with all the special needs of these special canines. For instance, even though they have the skills to sniff out explosives, they do not necessarily have the skills to conduct normal household business. As Road Warrior Voices quips, “Though they were trained to prevent accidents in the airports, they may be causing them on your carpet.”

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Even with these potential setbacks, this has become one of the most competitive dog-adoption programs: more than 500 applications have been submitted to the TSA and more than 100 dogs have been adopted (often by the dog’s previous handler).

For info on pups that are currently looking for new homes, email In the meantime, you can occasionally see the TSA’s working dogs on the the agency’s Instagram feed, where they serve as an adorable break from the usual terrifying/baffling stream of oddities that TSA screeners find in travelers’ luggage. Last week’s haul included a cane knife, inert and replica grenades, and Batman-logo-shaped boomerangs, or batarangs. Just some ideas for the kinds of toys your new pooch might like to play with.

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