Thursday, November 15, 2012

MAJOR Llarson/TSA Puppy Update

I'm not sure if anyone follows this anymore, but either way I felt it necessary to update on the complete story of what is going on with Llarson and the TSA Puppy Program since there have been some major changes in the last year.

To begin, after Llarson graduated (almost 2 years ago) from the explosive detection dog program at Lackland Air Force base, he was sent to the Minneapolis Airport to work as a detection dog. Long story short, after about a year of working something happened with his handler and Llarson was no longer needed in Minneapolis.

He was sent back to Lackland Air Force Base where he became what I like to call the "practice dog," where new K9-handlers practiced what they learned in the classroom about detection work using Llarson in the beginning stages of their training to get the techniques right for when they were assigned their K9 partner. After staying at Lackland for a few months, Llarson was eventually picked up by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS). The goal was that he was going to become a detection dog for this agency. Initially we thought he was going to graduate with them back in May 2012. However, after no word on a graduation date, I just assumed he was still "in-training" with them.

This is where there was a major change of events. About 2 months ago I woke up to go to school (it was about 6:30am) and I was checking my e-mail on my phone while eating breakfast. I literally dropped my spoon in my cereal when I read an e-mail that Llarson had been dropped by TXDPS and the department was wondering if I would like to adopt Llarson. A range of emotions went through my head. The first was utter excitement. I was being offered the chance to adopt Llarson! I had always said if he ever needed a home, I was going to adopt him. The second was sadness because his career as a detection dog was at an end.

I immediately called my mom. Since I am going to school out of state and live in an apartment that does not allow pets, if I were to adopt Llarson he would have to stay with my parents until next year when I could find a place that allows animals. It took a bit of convincing, but my parents agreed and picked Llarson up September 14th.

I haven't seen Llarson in 3 years and will finally be reunited with him this coming Saturday when I get home for Thanksgiving break. I literally cannot wait! From what I hear from my parents and sister, Llarson has been making himself at home and is loving the advantages that come with being a pet dog. The pictures below describe what I mean.

Overall this was not exactly how I had planned for any of this to work out, but I am so pleased with the outcome.

On a sad note, the TSA Puppy Program has been shut down as of late due to cuts in funding. The status of this program still remains unsure at this point, but hopefully they are able to pick up funding again to resume this incredible program. That means no more puppies to foster during the breaks when I come home from school. They just recently did a story on TODAY about the 500th puppy, Ddolan, who just recently graduated. The video can be found here.

4 comments:

Lisa and pups said...

Enjoyed following Llarson's adventures and glad he's finally back with you where he belongs after such a wonderful working career!

Anna said...

It sounds like he's had quite a fun career! Good for him. And now I'm sure he'll be an awesome pet :)

Anonymous said...

What a happy ending--or beginning! I, too, adopted my TSA foster pup about 4 years ago. Hhindy was transferred to FEMA but Search and Rescue didn't work out for her yet she had so much potential, so the next assignment was DPS/Narcotics but they had funding cuts so I got the phone call. I picked her up the following day...she was mine, free and clear. And she remembered me!!! She loves being a pet but also loves staying busy with doggy activities--Rally and other fun training classes, agility, canine therapy, and plenty of hiking. Happy trails to you and your pup!

Another TSA topic that you might be able to help me with--is there any way to find out what happened to our first TSA foster pup? He was transferred to DOD and may have been sent overseas for IED detection. We always said if he retired we'd love to have him back. I know--way too sentimental--can't help it. These pups just get right to the heart! Thank you.

Addie and Ggoody said...

It's so great to hear from a fellow TSA Puppywalker. Sorry for my delayed response. Was Hhindy born in 2006? If so I think her litter was the litter being raised around the same time as my first dog Ggoody. These really are awesome dogs, though!

As for your second dog, if you are on Facebook you can join the TSA Puppywalker page and Diana (who was in charge of the program, but recently transferred to the training branch) could probably answer your question. Or if you give me the name and birth-year of your dog I could probably figure it out through some the newsletters I have. Let me know!