Saturday, June 15, 2013

Empty chairs, trash bags and bomb sniffing...pigs?

It was the day after BlogPaws. Two pet bloggers were sitting at Dulles International Airport in a post-conference coma.

Perhaps it was memory of the standing ovation given to Hugo, a 4-legged member of the Arlington police department, the evening before. (BlogPaws gave Hugo his own protective K-9 vest during their awards banquet.)

Perhaps it was the trek through TSA which all passengers are now so familiar with when they fly. Possibly that trip through the scanner was still fresh in their minds. 

Perhaps it was because one of said bloggers was a pilot and the other, an undercover cop.

Or perhaps it was just finely honed (cough) powers of observation that cut through the sheer exhaustion from the 3-day conference.

For whatever reason, one blogger found herself asking the other blogger: "do you see that plastic bag, sitting under the chair really close to us, and completely abandoned?"

(Which, by the way, is perfect for today's Saturday PhotoHunt topic: "unknown".  But we digress.)

Pardon the reenactment, but certain people were complete and utter slackers
when it came to documenting the event. And they call themselves bloggers?

After much debate over what to do about said bag -- "It's probably nothing" "Are we really going to flag TSA down over this?" "You're the pilot, you decide" "You're the cop, you decide!" "Okay, FINE" (well, not really, but the actual debate was far less interesting), one blogger looked up to see two TSA agents passing by and dumped the entire problem in their laps.

The two agents approached the bag carefully but kept their distance. They confirmed the bag had been unclaimed for well over half an hour, then contacted airport police to send an explosives expert -- the kind with a nose for these things -- out to investigate.

While scrambling to send their representative from his post, another policeman (who had heard the report on the radio and happened to be nearby) strolled over to investigate.

He examined the bag from a slightly closer vantage, sniffed a moment, hesitated, then grabbed the bag and took it over to the trash can. "It smells too good to be a bomb," he declared, then promptly called to cancel the other team and informed them the object was "just trash."

Faraday: "I could have told them THAT. We kitties know noms when we smell them!"
After the smoke had (figuratively) cleared and the TSA agents went about their business, the policeman hung around to chat for a moment with a fellow officer. Turns out he knows Hugo's partner and handler and was thrilled to hear Hugo now had a Kevlar vest to protect him. (thanks, BlogPaws!)

"We have some great explosives dogs in the program," he said. The breeds most frequently trained for this type of work, I learned, were German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, and occasionally mixes of these breeds. Occasionally Rottweilers, Doberman Pinchers, and Bouvier de Flandres are trained, as well.  Other breeds can also considered, if detection is their only job.

"But what I really want," he added, "is a bomb sniffing pig."

Wait.  A pig?

Yep. Turns out a pig's sense of smell is more highly developed than even that of a dog. In fact, their noses have been used to find truffles (that famous delicacy coveted by chefs the world over) as far back as ancient Rome.

And now some governments are rumored to be considering the use of bomb-sniffing pigs on their security teams, in the place of explosives dogs.

So keep your eyes peeled. You may soon encounter bomb-sniffing pigs in your travels! 

Bomb-sniffing pigs. Who knew?


We're also participating in the Weekend Cat Blogging blog hop...


  1. Wow, that sure is interesting about the bomb sniffing pigs. And it must have been exciting trying to work out about the abandoned bag. Was it somebody's leftover lunch?

  2. Bomb sniffing pigs.... my that will be a sight. Have a super Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. We bet Odilia would have sniffed that out right away!

  4. Cool beans! But for your simulated piccie of a pig don't you tink it would have been better to stay away from a grey and white one? Hmmm? *squinting* Does dis 'simulated' pig have pink toenails??

    Mom: "BUCKY!!!! You apologize RIGHT NOW!!!"

    I sorry...really I is...sometimes I has no filter in me brains. *whispers* Faraday,Maxie-watch yourself dis weekend...(I soooo glad I live a gazillion miles away..oh wait...does Allie have her pilots license??) *looks up and slinks away*

    1. FaRADaY: DOOD! Nicely done! (pssst: your catnip payoff is in the mail!)

  5. Your simulated airport is fantastic! What a fun post and glad it was nothing serious! Purrs from the Zee and Zoey gang!

  6. We don't know what to giggle at first...OK, it's the piggy simulation!

    Great story.

  7. Hey. We kitties have purrfect sense of smell! Whey aren't there bomb sniffing cats!

  8. Wow, what an adventure...not sure what I would have done if I was there

  9. Well, that pig idea is probably a pretty good one...but how to get the pig to wear kevlar...that's a thought worth some thinkin'...just sayin'...paw pats, Savannah

  10. Hey guys I could not post my comment as myself...I had to enter my URL could not use my Word Press ID so my thumbnail photo and stuff don't show...never had a problem on your site before...just happened to me over at CK's too???

  11. Dogs, pigs .... when are they going to get a bomb sniffing gerbil? Or a cat? :) Seriously, funny post today.

  12. Quite the adventure. Bomb sniffing pigs make sense, but imagining them in airports gives moms the giggles....

  13. I think your re-enactment is spot-on! What an interesting experience! Many years ago one of my pet-sitting clients was a pot-bellied pig and she was darned smart and very focused, walked on a leash and kept up a running commentary as she sniffed her way down the sidewalk.

  14. I am just picturing the scene at an airport near me!! Nope! It's just not coming into focus! All I can see are pork scratchings! ;)

  15. OMC - what an ending to Blog Paws. You really had me in suspense there for a few minutes. I guess pigs can be trained, so why not. They aren't nearly as much fun to pet as a dog tho! he he

  16. That is so cool about the pigs! But Me don't think they is the 600 pound behemoths that lives in the field around the corner and down the street.

  17. MOL! My human can totally picture your human and Harvey and Evelyn's human having this discussion.

  18. Maybe BlogPaws will be giving a Kevlar vest to a pig next year! :)

  19. So it didn't blew up or anything maybe after your peep was gone? How about the simulated one? Heh heh

  20. Perhaps soon we shall see oinkers patrolling the airports then....they DO have lovely long "sniffers" so why not?! Power to the pigs....

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  21. Holy CA--- I mean PIG!!!
    What a story! It had everything...mystery, intrigue, drama.

    ...Seriously though, super fascinating!!!
    I can't wait to spot my first airport pig!
    : ) GG

  22. I've got to tell you, that reenactment was so real.. are you SURE you didn't take pictures while it was going on??

    I have to say that I had heard of the pig thing before..

  23. That would absolutely be a sight to behold. A pig would definitely know trash from treasure… we mean, explosives. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette

  24. Is this for real?? This is my first time to hear of training pigs for bomb detection. Well, if they say that pigs have more senses then it can interest to see them sniffing for bombs. I will wait for that time to come. -<a href="”></a/>


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