SAN FRANCISCO INT’L AIRPORT (KPIX 5) – A special dog at San Francisco International Airport smells trouble wherever it’s hidden, protecting California’s $54 billion a year agricultural industry in the process.
Inside the daily grind of the International Terminal at SFO, you’ll find Skipper, arguably the hardest working dog at the airport.
This 8-year-old beagle mix was a stray from the frigid streets of northern Michigan, when a shelter worker realized he liked to work, and had him trained at the National Detector Dog Training Center in Georgia.
Skipper isn’t a drug dog, he’s looking for food that could bring dangerous pests into the U.S.
He has also obliterated a Port of San Francisco record, according to Peter De Souza of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Skipper’s handler.
“Right before Thanksgiving, he found a banana on a flight. A banana is not normally what you’d consider a big deal, but it was his 20,000th seizure,” De Souza said.
The old record was 14,000 seizures.
“He knows when we’re out here, we’re working. And it’s not so much working for him – it’s a game,” De Souza said. “Find an item, you get a treat.”
And some items, like curry leaves and jasmine, earns skipper a big treat.
“He’s pulled me the full length of our carousels to jasmine, because he knows he’s going get a big treat for that,” De Souza said.
These days, Skipper is well over 20,000 seizures, breaking his own records.
“As long as he’s finding something, he’s happy to keep going,” De Souza said.