It was a teary-eyed moment for dog handlers and members of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) as they bid adieu to their four-legged commandos.
Two Labradors, Winnie and Mapple and a Golden Retriever, Zippo joined CISF in February 2011. After 10 years and seven months of duty at the Ahmedabad Airport, the CISF unit gave them a grand farewell on Thursday at their campus in Meghaninagar. All three dogs retired from their duties and made way for their successors. CISF organised a three-salute farewell ceremony for the dogs in the presence of the Chief Guest, Chief Airport Officer (CAO), BG Gandhi.
The primary duty of the dogs involved sniffing any unclaimed bags for threatful or explosive substances and contrabands. Their duties also included searching flights and vehicles. They spent eight hours at the airport – four hours performing their duties and the other four on standby every day.
The dogs are already adopted by families and set out to their new homes immediately after the farewell. All three retiring dogs along with, their handlers, were welcomed on the stage. All of them were lauded with medals and certificates by Gandhi.
Zippo – the male Golden Retriever, came on the stage with his handler, Pankaj Kumar, and was applauded for his calm nature and cheer. He was known to spread happiness at the Ahmedabad Airport while performing his duties. He is adopted by 11th-grade student Devika Rana.
Mapple – the female Labrador, came with her handler, Head Constable, Satbir Singh, on stage. She is known for her alert and calm demeanour around the airport. She has never taken any treats from strangers. She is adopted by Dipak Vaghela, who works at the CISF mess and adores Mapple. Vaghela is well aware of her habits and might bring her to the camp on certain occasions.
Winnie – the female Labrador, came on the stage with her handler, GD Diganta Roy. Winnie has a record of 100 per cent efficiency at her job. She has always remained alert. She is adopted by Sanjay Lodhi, who works in the Private sector and is a dog aficionado.
The dogs have familiarised themselves with everyone at the camp. The affection extends on a level that an official assured the adopters that assistance will be provided if needed to maintain the dogs, in the future. The authorities spend between Rs 8,000 – Rs 10,000 per month on these heroes.
Another generation of canines are now on board and was introduced to the officials at the event. It was a heart-warming moment as they met their predecessors for a while. They have undergone six months of intensive Improvised Explosives Devices (IED) training at BSF’s Special training centre in Ranchi.
Molly and Gracy are both female Labradors, and Candy – Cocker Spaniel along with their handlers, GD Satkal, Prakash Roy and Kay Jan Hong will be starting their work from October 1.
The event came to a bittersweet end as Gandhi cut the cake for dogs and they sat in the open jeep with their handlers bidding adieu to the camp, waiting to turn a new leaf in their lives.