Three O’Hare Agricultural Canines Retire
CHICAGO— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at O’Hare International Airport recently celebrated the retirement of three of their agricultural canines at a ceremony in Terminal 5.
Frodo, Dino and Chex celebrated their retirement with their handlers and other agricultural specialist. During their careers with CBP, all three dogs produced over 75,000 finds for CBP, issued over $170,000 in civil penalties, and turned in over 4,300 pests of possible significant agriculture risk.
Most of the agricultural canines are beagles that are rescued between one to three years old. CBP tries to retire the canines after they are nine years old, but because they are rescues their exact age isn’t known.
Frodo was paired with Agricultural Specialist Jessica Anderson in November 2011. Frodo was rescued from a shelter in Dallas, Georgia. Frodo was shy in the beginning, but once he warmed up to the CBP lifestyle, he became a memorable experience for passengers arriving to the international terminal at O’Hare. He was an amazing tool CBP used to educate the public on the importance of declaring food items. “When we were paired together, I had just retired my first working dog, Dixie, and was pretty sure no dog would ever come close to being as good,” Anderson said. “Boy was I wrong! Frodo surpassed Dixie in finds, bugs, and penalties in his much shorter career with CBP.”
Agricultural Specialist Jennifer Miller was Chex’s handler from December 2012 until he retired in May. Chex was Jennifer’s second partner. Chex initially started out as a family pet named Junior. However, he got out one day, and when he was found the family didn’t want him back. The canine training center rescued him and renamed him Chex. Once Chex graduated in December 2012, he became one of the top producing agricultural canines not only in Chicago, but nationwide. “Chex was a ham,” Miller said. “He is truly enjoying retired life, and if he returned to work today he would pick up right where he left off finding prohibited items and being loved on by so many; he loved work.”
Dino’s partner was Agricultural Specialist Anita Hartmann. Dino was Hartmann’s second partner, and was rescued from a Georgia shelter. Dino participated in many outreach programs: Illinois State Fair, Chicago Flower and Garden Show, and AirVenture Oshkosh. “I remember coming back from maternity leave and Dino was so excited to sniff luggage, that he launched himself onto a moving carousel to alert to a bag,” Hartmann said. “He treated baggage carousels like his personal treadmills. He was always ready to work and his excitement even kept me moving some days.”
Each Beagle goes through a training period, and during the training, handlers become familiar with the dog before they are put to work at their respective ports of entry. Each pup can find various plants, meats, fruits and vegetables.
Anderson and Miller will head down to meet their new beagle canine partners in the coming weeks, which means new faces will greet visitors as they arrive at O’Hare.