Everything You Need To Know About Adopting A TSA Bomb-Sniffing Flunk-Out Puppy

by Ronnie Charrier

Are you interested in adopting a lovable, hardworking, didn't-quite-make-the-grades puppy for absolutely free? Well you're in luck! The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA for short, or, more commonly known as that group of people that impose long wait times on you at the airport, has a program that allows people to adopt dogs that didn’t quite make it through the agency’s intensive 12-week explosives detection training course.

Twice a year, the agency offers up these pups for adoption to the general public. The most recent application period just ended this week, so we wanted to give those interested a heads up on when the next adoption period would begin (August), and some information to help prepare you.

The pups available through the program are usually between 2 and 10 years old, and the breeds typically include German short-haired pointers, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and Belgian Malinois.

These explosives detection pups will likely have a good foundation of training, however, each will need special care as most of them will have been raised in kennels, not in homes, and will need homes that can continue to provide an active lifestyle - There's sure to be a bit of an adjustment period for them to non-training life.

Before applying, here's a quick list of what you need to have, know, or prove before you can get one of these cute pups:

  • You must have a fenced in yard at the time of applying.
  • There should be no intentions of moving within six months of adopting a dog.
  • Homes must abide by all local pet ordinances.
  • You must agree to provide the dog with appropriate medical care, exercise, training and companionship.
  • All existing pets in the home must have current vaccinations and preventive care.
  • The age of children in the home will be taken into consideration when selecting a dog.

Adopting a TSA dog is free, but it's important to know that you will have to be able to travel to San Antonio, Texas, to pick up your pup, as well as be aware that more than one trip could be necessary. Read the TSA’s page about its Canine Adoption Program for more information.

Anyone interested in adopting a TSA dog can email the TSA Adoption Coordinator at AdoptaTSAcanine@OLE.tsa.dhs.gov.