SEJONG & YEONGJONGDO in INCHEON, Nov. 27(Korea Bizwire) –Rod, a Labrador retriever, embarked on a remarkable journey as a drug detection dog at the age of three, ultimately retiring after three years of dedicated service.
His post-retirement life has sparked renewed interest in the role of drug detection dogs within Korea. Born in May 2017, Rod distinguished himself during his three-year tenure at Incheon Airport Customs and Incheon Customs, earning the Consolation Prize in a contest for the best detection dog.
Presently, the Korea Customs Service boasts a team of 39 drug detection dogs, encompassing two breeds—Labrador retrievers and springer spaniels—with an average age of 4.4 years. Following a rigorous 12- to 16-week training program, approximately half of the puppies graduate to become fully-fledged detection dogs.
The dogs forge a unique bond with their handlers through one-on-one pairing, a relationship that endures until the dog’s retirement or unforeseen circumstances arise. Typically, these dogs render service for seven to eight years, retiring around the age of eight.
Customs and Border Protection assumes the responsibility of ensuring a quality post-retirement life for these canine heroes, recognizing their invaluable service in curbing drug smuggling.
Upon retirement, the dogs return to the canine training center, where they undergo walks with new handlers and receive etiquette training before being made available for adoption. Adoption applications are welcome at any time, subject to a stringent screening process that evaluates potential adopters based on the suitability of their environment and nurturing attitude.
An annual dog sale, held in May, features both retired dogs and those that did not pass the selection process during training. In the latest event, 10 out of 14 training dogs and 5 out of 8 retired dogs found new homes.
The adoption day is marked by a poignant “retirement ceremony” attended by handlers, dog training center staff, and the adopters, honoring the valuable contributions of these canines in the field.
Image credit: The Korea Customs Service, Rod the retired narcotics dog’s Instagram, Yonhap / firstname.lastname@example.org