Dogs Given A Second Chance To Sniff Out Danger

Ricky BobbyRicky Bobby Baby Jesus and Mary Jane both received a well-deserved second chance. Now they are saving lives and are true canine heroes.

Ricky Bobby Baby Jesus (pictured here), a yellow Labrador, had been in and out of three different adoption homes because his energy level was so high. The Howard County shelter was about to euthanize Ricky Bobby Baby Jesus when Joann Chambers, 71, a Lab Rescue volunteer, spotted his potential and gave him another chance.

Mary Jane, a black Labrador, was also a misfit. Mary Jane’s parents “came from long lines of guide-dog producers. Our creme de la creme.” All three of Mary Jane’s siblings passed the guide dog entrance exam. But Mary Jane failed because she whined throughout the test. She fell to the floor when she saw an opened umbrella. The evaluators said Mary Jane lacked self-confidence.

Mary Jane was then adopted by John Pucci, an inmate in prison for a drug-related shooting, through a program called Puppies Behind Bars. Pucci trained her and raised the Labrador in his New York prison cell.

But Ricky Bobby Baby Jesus and Mary Jane were destined for bigger and better things. They may have been considered as underachievers or not confident enough or not well behaved enough, but now through second chances, they are sniffing out terrorists in Morocco.

These two Labradors, along with four other Labradors, were put in a 16-week program in Virginia run by the Justice and State departments to train them to be potential lifesavers. Each dog teamed up for training with a Moroccan law enforcement official. After their graduation, these Labradors joined more than 700 American canines who work with foreign counterterrorism forces.

The Explosives Detection Canine Handler Course, established in 1991 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with the State Department’s Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance, has increased since Sept. 11, 2001. This program is the world’s largest bomb-dog program which supplies dogs for both domestic and overseas law enforcement. The center has trained dogs and foreign handlers for more than 20 countries, including Australia, Italy, Israel, Thailand and Qatar.

In Mexico, an ATF-trained dog sniffed out a shipment of guns. In Iraq, a dog found a 500-pound bomb. In Egypt, a dog alerted a SWAT team that a door was booby-trapped.

For a country to qualify, it must provide veterinary care, exercise fields and clean facilities for the dogs.

ATF uses food as rewards. The dogs receive food when they sit to alert the presence of explosives. They can detect more than 19,000 kinds of explosives from up to a third of a mile away. One trainer’s dog would work all night for baby carrots.

After their graduation, Ricky Bobby Baby Jesus and Mary Jane said goodbye to the people that gave them a second chance and saw behind their fiestiness or lack of self-confidence. They are no longer considered misfits, and instead they walk out as heroes.

Source: Washington Post (registration required)

(Thanks Debbie)

7 Responses to “Dogs Given A Second Chance To Sniff Out Danger”

  1. kaefamily says:

    Sniffing all the drugs and explosives (chemicals) will not harm their health?

  2. Elderta says:

    Can I just say how much I love the name, “Ricky Bobby Baby Jesus”….

  3. Scratch says:


    Sniffing out drugs and explosives is less harmful than the needle. It’s not like they have 24 hours with their nose in a drug or chemical bin. They are not rolling around the bombs and snorting the drugs when they find them either. 99% of the time the dogs are just sniffing things to try to locate the drugs or explosives. When they have a hit they can be taught to sit, etc. The best of the drug and bomb dogs have more energy than 6 Border Collies. There is no way you could live with them as a house pet unless they put in a full day of work. We’re talking dogs that would retrieve a toy 200 times in a row when the weather is 100, until they drop. They are obsessed with play. They NEED a job.

  4. nora says:

    A dog marked for euthanization because his energy level was so high? Absolutely sickening and unacceptable. People who make those (playing God) decisions should have THEIR heads examined. Or possibly they should be the ones put down?

  5. plaid says:

    and then when the going gets tough, we’ll leave them behind to suffer the same fate as the VietNam war dogs? yeah, I’d want any dog I loved to work for our government!!!!

  6. Scratch says:

    If you have never experienced hands on with the drug/bomb dogs before training you don’t know what obsessive energy level is. Nora it is not a high energy level, it is off the charts. I once rescued a pointer, which customs took and trained for a state police dog. The dog was jumping through glass windows to get out and run. Another dog I rescued had killed another dog. Not a mean dog, just need a ‘toy’ to release energy. Both of these dogs became top quality working dogs for the government and lived full lives. Would/could you live with either of them as your pets? Tell me what their options would have been. Live their lives in a cage and break their teeth to get out until they go nuts. Plaid please do not compare the Viet Nam war dogs to the US customs dogs. It is two very different scenarios. You could take that comparison and attach it to any service dog, including seeing eye.

  7. Pit Bull Lover says:

    Seriously, the name “Ricky Bobby Baby Jesus” cracks me up. It’s also somewhat amusing that the dog is at work in mostly-Muslim Morocco.

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