Around Town

Video: TSA K-9 at DCA celebrates retirement with surprise party

Explosives detection canine Messi works Reagan National Airport and was featured in TSA’s 2023 calendar (via TSA)

An explosives detection K-9 celebrated his retirement at Reagan National Airport today.

Messi, an 8-year-old yellow lab, was feted this morning in the historic Terminal 1 lobby with a surprise tennis ball drop, a cupcake and the ceremonial removal of his TSA “Do Not Pet” patch.

“If you’ve never attended a canine retirement party, this is your opportunity,” an invite to the event said. “A training aid/decoy device will be hidden and Messi will search for it. When he hits on the item, the celebration will begin!”

Video of the big moment, captured by local TV station WJLA, is below. It was followed by another K-9 retirement tradition.

“The removal of Messi’s TSA ‘Do Not Pet’ patch will [then] take place, signaling his official retirement,” the invite also noted. “So come pet him, because he will no longer be a working dog.”

A spokeswoman for the agency said Messi “was clearly born to work for TSA because he enjoys watching airplanes and playing in the grass at nearby Gravelly Point.” She described Messi as “a lovable and hard-working dog whose favorite game is playing with a tennis ball after work.”

Messi is somewhat of a celebrity in the explosive detection dog scene. He was prominently featured in TSA’s 2023 canine calendar.