4 min read

TSA Detection Dog Gets A Huge Surprise Before He Retires

His last find was a good one 😁

As an explosive detection canine, TTirado isn’t always allowed to play with tennis balls like normal pets. Tennis balls — his favorite toy — are used as a reward for a job well done at the Indianapolis Airport.

So when it came time for TTirado to retire after eight long years of service, his handler came up with the perfect way to celebrate — with a massive ball drop.

TTirado the explosion detective dog at his retirement
Keith Gray

“It’s a coveted item during their career,” Keith Gray, TTirado’s handler, told The Dodo. “They know that they have to work for it to get it and that’s what keeps them going and keeps their motivation up.”

TTirado the detection dog working for the TSA
Keith Gray

TTirado is top of the class when it comes to detection, and has passed every single evaluation and test. For TTirado, scent detection is a game, and he’s always been happy to go into work with his dad.

“He was the first dog that was assigned to me and the dog I kept my entire career,” Gray said. “He’s a black Lab, so he’s a fantastic, lovable pup. He’s been such a great dog to work with and I’ve learned so much from him over the years.”

Keith Gray

To surprise the pup on his special day, Gray ordered 200 tennis balls online and set up a special final search for him. 

“We had a couple of handlers that were behind the scenes ready to drop the balls when he showed up,” Gray said. “The handlers knew what to do when the dog alerts, which is basically him coming around the corner, sniffing that bag like he’s supposed to and dropping his butt to sit down.”

Keith Gray

When TTirado signaled to his dad that he had found something, all 200 tennis balls dropped from the sky. TTirado was in heaven.

You can watch the adorable video here:

TTirado loves to play fetch, and everyone joined in throwing balls for the senior dog to chase.

After putting in countless 40-hour workweeks, TTirado is finally learning to enjoy his retirement. While TTirado was always part of the family, Gray has officially adopted him and plans on taking the pup on lots of fun trips in the future.

But perhaps the biggest change for TTirado is that he gets to hang out on the couch with his favorite toy every single day: "Now that he’s retired, he can have all the toys and tennis balls he wants and play around with them at home,” Gray said.