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TSA Celebrates National Dog Day at DCA With Spotlight on a ‘Very Good Boy’

Spike likes playing frisbee, playing with a chew toy, and sniffing out explosive chemicals in Reagan National Airport.

The black labrador retriever is one of four — soon to be five — explosives detection canines patrolling the airport. This morning (Monday), Spike led a public demonstration at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint to show off his nose and teach the public about airport bomb dogs for National Dog Day.

Daniel La Rose, Spike’s handler, says the daily grind of ensuring the safety of the travelling public is made better for Spike by making sure every activity feels fun and rewarding.

“It has to be interesting for the dog,” La Rose said, “he needs to feel productive.”

Activities include searches throughout the airport, and sometimes aboard aircraft and checked baggage areas. A lot of the work is what La Rose calls “cutting the wake” — walking past crowds as the dog sniffs through the wafted scents, kind of like going through the wake of a boat.

The dogs smell in ingredients, Daniel La Rose said. A lot of lotions, makeup and perfumes share some chemical elements with explosives, so La Rose warned that passengers wearing heavy perfume for their plane trip may attract the attention of explosives dogs.

Spike needs frequent stimulation. La Rose said it looks easy, but the daily job is a lot of work finding ways to keep the dog constantly positive and active.

Sometimes the Spike will be taken through areas where dummies are planted for the dog to find, to keep him training and to earn playtime with La Rose. The dogs work for play, La Rose explained, not treats. Every day is a game of hide and seek, with a few minutes playing with a tennis ball or a loving pat on the head the reward for a job well done.

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Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

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Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.

Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.

About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.

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Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

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