Lulu the CIA's Bomb-Sniffing Dog Fails Out of School; Just Wasn't That Into It

The young pup was training to be an explosive detection K-9 for the CIA

Lulu, CIA K9 unit trainee.Credit: CIA
Photo: CIA

They say every dog has its day, but for Lulu, every day was a case of the Mondays.

The CIA — yes, we’re talking about the government intelligence agency tasked with our national security — released a rare “pupdate” on Thursday: one of the department’s K-9s had been dropped from the program.

According to the CIA blog about its Fall ’17 Puppy Class (who knew?), Lulu just wasn’t meant for the working dog life.

Lulu, CIA K9 unit trainee.Credit: CIA

“For our K9 trainers, it’s imperative that the dogs enjoy the job they’re doing. Sometimes, even when a pup tests well and they successfully learn how to detect explosive odors, they make it clear that being an explosive detection K9 is not the life for them. Such is the case for one of the fall 2017 ‘puppy class’ pups,” reads the statement. “We are sad to announce that Lulu has been dropped from the program.”

Not to split hairs, but was Lulu really “dropped” or did she take matters into her own paws? From the sounds of it, the black Lab was just not that into the gig from the get-go. Perhaps taking a cue from the president, the CIA decided to also Tweet about its decision to oust Lulu.

“A few weeks into training, Lulu began to show signs that she wasn’t interested in detecting explosive odors. All dogs, just like most human students, have good days and bad days when learning something new. The same is true during our puppy classes. A pup might begin acting lazy, guessing where the odors are, or just showing a general disregard for whatever is being taught at the moment. Usually it lasts for a day, maybe two,” the CIA blog explains.

“But for some dogs, like Lulu, it becomes clear that the issue isn’t temporary. Instead, this just isn’t the job they are meant for. Lulu was no longer interested in searching for explosives. Even when they could motivate her with food and play to search, she was clearly not enjoying herself any longer. Our trainers’ top concern is the physical and mental well-being of our dogs, so they made the extremely difficult decision to do what’s best for Lulu and drop her from the program.”

The decision may’ve been “extremely difficult” for the CIA, but it was clearly a breeze for Lulu, who was adopted by her handler.

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Turns out, when a dog is either dropped or retires from the CIA’s K-9 program, the handler/handler’s family gets first dibs at adoption. Even after just a few weeks of training and working together, dogs and their partners form strong bonds and become like family to one another. Luckily, Miss Lulu’s handler just couldn’t permanently part with the under-motivated pup. She is now enjoying her days, eating her meals out of a dog dish instead of having to earn her rewards, romping with her handler’s children and sniffing out rabbits and squirrels while playing in the backyard.

In conclusion, the CIA says, “We’ll miss Lulu, but this was the right decision for her. We wish her all the best in her new life.”

Amen. We also commend Lulu for choosing her own path and taking life by leash, hopefully leading her to much safer and more enjoyably lackadaisical pastures.

Stay tuned for the CIA’s announcement of the newest K-9 addition to its program on Friday!

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