After ten years of service to the TSA, most of which were spent at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the agency’s oldest active serving K-9 is retiring.
Since 2015, MSP has used Eebbers, a Visla/Lab mix, as an explosives detection canine. He has spent that time working with handler Jean Carney to sniff almost every traveler entering the airport through the gates.
“He was a boisterous puppy when we acquired him.” Carney recalled, “approximately 14 months old. Every day, he drives me to the office. Eebbers wakes up each morning, and when I put on my TSA shirt, he knows it’s time to leave for work. This job is something he was destined to do.”
K-9s who play Eebber’s duty often work until they are seven or eight years old. According to Marty Robinson, director of TSA Federal Security, “He is the oldest working K-9 remaining in the TSA service, at 11 1/2 years old.” A team that has been employed by the TSA for so long and is still as productive as he is is quite uncommon.
Eebbers has had experience working two Super Bowl events, a Special Olympics World Games, and a National College Football Championship. He won a fan poll in August, earning the title of “TSA’s Cutest K-9.”
With one last exercise, the dog followed the smell of an explosive on Carney’s spouse, Eebbers and Carney celebrated their last day of duty on Wednesday. When he was successful, he received a toy shower from the concourse above.
It’s lovely and a nice feeling for him to see how much everyone enjoys what he’s doing, according to Carney. “Over the years, he has put forth a lot of effort. He has worked so diligently and with such dedication, and all he asked for was that toy.”
“I simply expected him to behave like a dog,” said Carney. “He hasn’t been a dog for very long, and I simply wanted him to appreciate that. He was certain to reach a moment where he would start slowing down and perhaps not be as skilled as he was when he was younger. I didn’t want to send him out in a depressing way.”
The TSA later presented Carney and her dog with commemorative plaques and cakes in the shape of bombs as a mark of appreciation.