ARLINGTON, Va. – Two Transportation Security Administration (TSA) explosives detection canines who work at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) are featured in the free downloadable TSA 2023 monthly calendar that honors its explosives detection canines from across the country.
TSA trains each of its explosives detection canines at the TSA Canine Training Center, located at Joint Base San Antonio - Lockland in San Antonio, Texas. Considered the “Center for Excellence” for explosives detection canine training, the TSA National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program is the Department of Homeland Security’s largest explosives detection canine program.
About 300 canines complete the training annually. Each canine recruit spends 16 weeks in training where they meet their handlers, socialize to adapt to busy airport environments, and learn their craft of detecting a variety of explosive odors before reporting to their duty stations.
Messi is a 6-year-old Yellow Labrador Retriever who works with his handler, Peter, at DCA. Messi is featured in the calendar in February. He was clearly born to work for TSA because he enjoys watching airplanes and playing in the grass at nearby Gravelly Point. Messi is a lovable and hard-working dog who enjoys playing with a tennis ball after work.
Ava is a four-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer who is the featured canine in the month of June. Ava also works at DCA with her handler, Patricia. Ava enjoys spending time outdoors and favors a bright yellow tennis ball as her toy of choice. She also likes to buck like a rodeo horse and prance through the airport.
Each canine and their handler serves as a reliable resource for detecting explosives as well as providing a visible deterrent to terrorism directed towards various types of transportation nodes. Once on duty, these canines work to safeguard passengers and cargo across the nation’s transportation systems.
This year’s 2023 TSA Canine Calendar features fun facts and great photos of a few of TSA’s dedicated canines selected from dozens of entries submitted by canine teams from across the agency to help TSA celebrate National Dog Day in August.
TSA has more than 1,000 canine handler teams deployed in support of security and screening operations nationwide. The explosives detection canine teams inspect passengers and all areas in and around terminals. They are so effective at their jobs that other public and private sector law enforcement agencies often request their support for similar security missions.