Three canines of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, who led from the (four) front in the face of multiple threats as well as mock drills at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai, took a parting sniff of the airport terminal, aircraft and tarmac on Tuesday before retiring from their nine-year-long service.
The three male Labradors, Alex, Zingo and Oscar, who were a familiar sight for airport staff as well as regular fliers, were given a tearful farewell by their handlers and other CISF personnel, who lauded them for their dedicated service as sentinels against sabotage, hijacking and explosives.
One dog refuses to leave his handler
It was uncanny how Alex seemed to sense that his days in active duty were over and he refused to leave his handler. However, Zingo and Oscar were seemingly more self-contained and philosophical, sitting quietly in a corner before their workday was done, for one last time.
“Alex, Zingo, and Oscar were brought to the CISF as two-month-old pups and served with the Mumbai airport bomb detection squad for nine years. They will be remembered as the most active in the CISF with regard to anti-sabotage duties,” said Mumbai Airport CISF Deputy Inspector General Shrikant Kishore.
Retired dogs to be adopted by CISF family
The Labradors, all born in 2014, were sent to the National Training Centre for Dogs in Tekanpur, Gwalior, for a six-month stint. The retired canines will be adopted by dog lovers who are members of the CISF family, according to officials. “They are well-trained and disciplined, and will thus find it easy to adapt to the environment of any home,” explained a CISF dog handler.
With the retirement of these canines, the Mumbai airport unit of CISF has 14 dogs on active duty, including 12 Labradors, a cocker spaniel, and a German shepherd for specialised duties.
Labradors are generally preferred for highly-sensitive locations such as airports, while cocker spaniels are useful in smaller spaces, making them the ideal choice for security-related duties and operations.
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