INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, airports across the nation continue to look for ways to enhance security.
Not only was Indianapolis the first city to reopen their airport after the 9/11 attacks, but seven years ago, they were the first to introduce a new screening program.
On the last week of September, that program reached a milestone. One of the members the TSA says was integral in the program’s launch retired.
“She makes the job look effortless,” said one agent.
“She’s the best there is,” said another agent.
This particular TSA member earned high marks in a seemingly short career. It only lasted 9 years.
For passenger screening dog, Llenoir, 9 years is over half a lifetime.
“She hates getting up in the morning so she’s happy,” said Llenoir’s handler, Scott Crane.
The two have only spent one week apart since they met nearly nine years ago.
“It’s like having another kid, only you’re with them a lot more,” said Crane. “It’s going to be sad leaving her at home all the time.”
They’re usually together at home, at work, and oftentimes on trips. The two are inseparable, and they’ve been that way since day one.
Llenoir was among the very first group of K-9s trained for this job at Lackland Airforce Base.
She was the last in the litter to retire.
Crane said her skills are so good, the TSA wanted to keep her at Lackland, but he managed to keep her instead.
Llenoir has demonstrated her skills at airports across the country and before members of congress, and she became a national example of what dogs can do.
“It will be a long time before I see a dog like her again,” said agent John Erwin.
Beginning work in Indy only a few years ago, agent Laura Gleason said Llenoir and Scott’s bond stuck out to her. She said she’s never met such an effective pair.
“She catches everything, she treats the job like it’s her life’s duty,” she said.
It’s a duty that is found even in her name.
“This gentleman here is John Robert Llenoir who Llenoir is named after,” said Crane, holding up a photo of a family standing in front of the twin towers.
John Robert Llenoir was killed during the 9/11 terror attacks.
The TSA names all the puppies in the program after victims of the attacks.
They do so to honor their memory and to remind the TSA of the program’s purpose, which is to prevent anything similar from happening again.
Llenoir screened millions of people in her career. From the airport to four Super Bowls and one MLB All-Star game, she’s never missed her mark.
No 401K or social security, retirement for Llenoir means benefits of a different kind. At her retirement party, her “Do Not Pet” patch was removed.
Outside of baggage claim after the dog days of summer, Llenoir enters the golden years of her life.
Crane said she is like a member of the family and shares a close bond with his daughter, Bridgett. He was sad she could not attend the retirement party. She was at basic training at Lackland Airforce Base. The same place Scott met Llenoir almost 9 years ago.