A longtime and well-loved TSA canine is calling it a career. TTirado is retiring.
“A typical day for TTirado starts with the first thing on his mind when he wakes up - breakfast,” said Explosive Detection Canine Handler Keith Gray from Indianapolis International Airport. “The second thing on his mind is going out the door to work.”
And so starts the day of the dog and his handler.
TTirado is named in honor of New York Engine 23 Firefighter Hector Luis Tirado Jr. who died in service on 9/11, and according to Gray, he lived up to his name. At 10½ years old, TTirado is one of the few remaining dogs that came from the TSA-bred puppy program. He was part of the third class of passenger screening canines trained at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Gray and TTirado have been partners since March 2012.
“I am thankful for such a fantastic partner in TTirado as my first dog,” Gray said. “He has taught me a lot over the years, and I have been amazed in his growth and how far we have come.”
TTirado’s work history reads a bit like a jet-setter. He supported security operations for Super Bowl LII, the NBA Final Four, Kentucky Derby, Indy 500, NFL Pro Bowl and the 2017
Presidential Inauguration. He performed “sweeps” for the prime minister of Australia, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii, and other dignitaries.
Gray thinks TTirado will adjust nicely to retired life. Aside from breakfast, he will enjoy some down time at home. But like many retirees, work is over and it is time to travel.
Gray said, “Not counting trips to Grandma’s house, I have three travel objectives for TTirado – New York City and the Ground Zero Memorial and FDNY Station 23 where his namesake
worked, Atlanta to meet one of Hector’s sons and his family who we have kept in touch with, and finally to San Antonio to see his foster family who helped raise him during his puppy years.”
Like many retirees, TTirado will be busy with little time to rest but will surely have plenty of time for breakfast.