For Penn Staters who miss their own furry friends at home, the puppies decked out in blue and purple vests across campus are likely to make anyone’s day brighter. These dogs are part of the Susquehanna Service Dogs program, and the CIA just recruited five of them for its first all-female puppy training class.
Susquehanna Service Dogs aims to train puppies for many different jobs — specialties include balance, hearing, and various types of facility work. Penn State runs a partnership program with the organization called Roar for More, and students train the puppies on a daily basis for about 15 to 18 months before they move on to final training. Now, five SSD dogs — Indigo, Suni, Heide, Freya, and Lulu — are about to embark on an entirely new journey through training in the CIA’s explosive detection program.
According to the CIA’s official website, the agency’s K9 trainers faced the difficult task of selecting only six dogs from across the country for this program. The trainers have already been able to get a feel for each of the dog’s unique traits and quirks. Two-year-old Suni is an outgoing pup who enjoys outwitting her trainers when they least expect it, while feisty Indigo “likes to work and loves to eat even more.”
The explosive detection program will train each dog to become an official bomb dog within the CIA’s K9 Corps. From then on, they’ll be on call 24/7 to serve as the agency’s official defense against explosive threats, and they’ll also assist law enforcement both in the United States and abroad. The full program consists of six weeks of imprint training, paired work with a human partner, 10 weeks of advanced training, national certification tests, and graduation day in November.
The dogs will each complete thorough veterinary examinations, as well as receive any remaining vaccinations, before training officially begins. If you want to keep up with the pups throughout the training process, you can visit the official program website for updates here.