Bela, Sea-Tac Airport’s longest serving bomb-sniffing dog, retires

Apr 10, 2019, 4:09 PM

(Photos courtesy of TSA) (Photos courtesy of TSA) (Photos courtesy of TSA) (Photos courtesy of TSA)

Bela, the longest serving bomb-sniffing dog at Sea-Tac Airport, has sniffed for her last bomb. The 7-year-old explosive detection canine is retiring after five years, not that she’s entirely aware of what retirement means.

Since 2014 Bela and her handler Tim have screened thousands of nervous travelers and their belongings, none of whom were able to pet Bela because of her “Do Not Pet” shirt. But she can be petted all she wants now.

RELATED: TSA starts using floppy-ear dogs to reduce passenger stress

“As Bela prepares to hang up her leash, TSA is grateful for her more than five years of service to security operations at Sea-Tac Airport,” said Chris Baden, TSA Deputy Federal Security Director for Washington state. “We are fortunate to have had Bela as a key member of our TSA team.”

There are currently more than 400 passenger security canines working at airports across the country, who spend their days navigating large groups of people as a major TSA tool in maintaining safety.

RELATED: ‘Buttons’ the elk not a fan of the wild, transported to Seattle zoo

Bela didn’t get a gold watch or anything, but she was given a little sendoff at Sea-Tac Wednesday and leaves with an immaculate record. Her superiors simply felt that it was time for her to be retired.

With Bela’s life as a bomb-sniffing dog behind her, she is set to live with Tim and will have plenty of time to sniff other things, like flowers, and dogs, and probably her own poop. Tim is continuing on at SeaTac and will be assigned another explosive detection canine, who will likely never live up to the G.O.A.T.

Good girl, Bela.

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Bela, Sea-Tac Airport’s longest serving bomb-sniffing dog, retires