LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Alona, a 4-year-old golden retriever and explosives detection canine who works with her handler Vanessa at McCarran International Airport, won TSA’s Cutest Canine 2021 contest.
The voting was carried out last week in a three-day nationwide social media contest and was selected by the people among four other TSA canine finalists.
Alona is highly skilled and trained to detect explosives or explosive materials, and she uses her keen sense of smell at McCarran Airport’s busy passenger screening lines.
According to TSA, Alona started her career in 2018 as part of its National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program. After graduating, Alona became a certified Passenger Screening Canine (PSC) with her handler Vanessa.
When off-duty, Alona enjoys going to the park or being in open spaces. She is curious and social. Her favorite toy is a hard rubber ball, and according to TSA, “she loves to overhear passengers talk about how adorable she is as she carries out her important responsibilities as a working canine.”
Currently, TSA has trained more than 1,000 canine teams that work at airports across the country and are considered the “most effective elements within the layered security system to deter the introduction of explosive devices and detect explosives” for the nation’s mass transit facilities.
Alona will appear on the cover of TSA’s 2022 Cutest Canine calendar.