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TSA screening dog ‘Messi’ retires from duty after surprise last ‘hit’

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One Transportation Security Agency employee had the retirement send-off of a lifetime: an 8-year-old labrador retriever named Messi. 

Messi is a passenger-screening canine for the TSA at Reagan National Airport outside Washington, D.C. who “enjoys watching airplanes and playing in the grass at nearby Gravelly Point,” per a press release.

The labrador’s favorite activity is “playing with a tennis ball after a busy day sniffing for any traces of explosives at the airport.”

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Messi, alongside every TSA screening canine, is one of 300 dogs selected annually who spend 16 weeks training for the job at the Joint Base San Antonio Lackland.

After faithfully executing his duties for many years, Messi was surprised by his handler Peter and some adoring fans at Reagan Airport with a special treat.

Messi the labrador, pictured, is a recently retired TSA screening canine who loves tennis balls when he isn’t sniffing around airports. (TSA Photo)

Per a TSA press release, “Messi was joined by several of the canine handlers and invited guests to celebrate his retirement at a surprise party.”

“A training aid was concealed in a large room and Messi, along with his handler, Peter, searched the room. When Messi ‘hit’ on the device, he was showered with tennis balls tossed his way by the other canine handlers.”

Messi TSA screening dog

Messi was surprised with a “pupcake” at this retirement “paw-ty” with his handler Peter and invited guests. (TSA Photo)

Messi’s end of duties occurred when his official “Do Not Pet” patch was removed from his harness, signaling the end of his life as a working dog.

Luckily, “There was no shortage of guests who were eager to pet the newly retired dog.”

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Messi will be adopted in his retirement by his handler Peter, who will go on to train TSA canines professionally.


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