BANGOR, Maine — No gold watch was given at this retirement ceremony. Instead, dog treats were the big gift.
Endumin, a nearly 10-year-old Belgian Malinois, retired from the Bangor Police Department’s bomb squad canine unit on Tuesday during a ceremony at Bangor International Airport. He was with the department for five years and regularly spent his time at the airport.
“It might only be five years that he’s worked for us, but we have to remember that in dog years, it’s been 35 years of service,” said Tony Caruso, director of the airport. “He certainly will be missed by the airport.”
Endumin was the first Transportation Security Administration-certified dog at the Bangor International Airport, said Caruso. Next week, a 2-year-old yellow Lab named Sony will succeed Endumin.
“He will be going home with me. His retirement will be living on the couch,” said Bangor police Officer Dan Scripture, who has worked with Endumin for the past five years.
Endumin has been battling health issues recently, said Scripture, including arthritis and other ailments.
“He’s been having trouble getting in and out of the car. The winter’s coming, and I knew we’d have some problems,” said Scripture.
It was a rough start for Endumin, said Scripture. The dog had a toe removed after a venomous snake bite while training in Texas. He also didn’t have hair on his tail, was underweight and had intestinal issues before moving to Maine.
“He really shouldn’t be here,” said Scripture. “It didn’t seem like he’d be able to make the deployment here to Bangor. A couple of months later, he was able to catch up with us, and he’s been thriving ever since.”
The Belgian Malinois, which is the same breed used by the U.S. Navy Seals in Operation Neptune Spear, in which Osama Bin Laden was killed, has been used to sniff out explosives and narcotics, as well as used in search and rescue operations, according to Caruso. Endumin has been often seen in schools and businesses in the area during bomb threats.
He’s been a friendly dog to visitors at Bangor International Airport, said Scripture. Though he’s not a therapy dog, some have seen him as helpful.
“One day, we had a troop flight in here, and we had a soldier come in,” said Scripture. “That soldier came up to my dog, and he laid down beside him, and he was crying. He explained to me that his dog had died while he was in Iraq. He’s the first dog people see when they’re coming home.”
Scripture said he owes Endumin a good retirement.
“He’s a good boy. I’m going to take good care of him because he’s taken good care of me,” Scripture said.