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Explosive-Sniffing TSA Dog Retires, Celebrated with Tennis Balls And Cake

March 31, 2022, 5:00 PM HST
* Updated March 31, 1:10 PM
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To celebrate retirement, Bruno was gifted an edible, dog-friendly cake. Courtesy of TSA

The Transportation Security Administration at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu celebrated the career and retirement of Bruno, a 4-year-old Labrador retriever, trained as an explosive detection canine, and his handler Kathy.

During Bruno’s tenure with TSA, the dog was trained as a passenger screening canine to detect the scent of explosives and explosive materials, TSA stated in a news release celebrating the dog’s career. PSCs can utilize their keen sense of smell when working in and around travelers and their belongings in a busy transportation environment.

Since October 2019, Bruno and his handler have screened thousands of departing travelers and their belongings for potential transportation security threats. They have also trained hundreds of hours together to maintain Bruno’s certification and to keep his explosive detection capabilities sharp.

“TSA canines like Bruno are premiere security ambassadors and a favorite of travelers who depart HNL,” said TSA Federal Security Director Jenel Chang. “We are most proud of the work that Bruno and Kathy have done together to secure the transportation network. We wish them aloha as they move onto the next phase of their lives together.”

Bruno worked his entire career at HNL. In addition to screening passengers at airports and working in the broader transportation environment, Bruno and Kathy traveled to support security operations and festivities in February during Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.

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The retirement ceremony on Wednesday, March 30 featured a final working session that ended at the Japanese Garden in HNL’s Terminal 2. As Bruno anticipated the traditional praise and reward that working canines universally enjoy, several TSA officers who were stationed on an overlook above, showered him with more than 100 “squeaky” tennis balls, signaling the end to his working career. Bruno was then presented with an edible, dog-friendly cake.

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With his working dog days behind him, Bruno, who will turn 5 years old in January, will continue to live with Kathy and transition to being a pampered pooch. He will join Llake, a 15-year-old Labrador retriever, who is also a retired TSA working dog named after a New York Fire Department firefighter who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Prior to his retirement, Bruno was among more than 450 PSCs who work at airports across the country.

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