This CIA Dog Got Fired Because She Didn’t Want To Sniff Bombs

Sometimes a job is just not the right fit. That was recently the case for one Central Intelligence Agency employee, who just so happened to be a Labrador Retriever. Meet Lulu, a very good dog who is not-so-great at sniffing bombs. The CIA recently announced on Twitter that the young pup would be let go from the explosive detection canine training program after only a few weeks, when it became clear to the agency that Lulu was not going to make the cut.

“We’re sad to announce that a few weeks into training, Lulu began to show signs that she wasn’t interested in detecting explosive odors,” the CIA wrote in a “pupdate” post on their blog:

“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 explained that they tried to figure out why Lulu just wasn’t motivated:

“There can be a million reasons why a particular dog has a bad day, and the trainers become doggy psychologists trying to figure out what will help the dog come out of its funk. Sometimes the pup is bored and just needs extra playtime or more challenges, sometimes the dog need a little break, and sometimes it’s a minor medical condition like a food allergy requiring switching to a different kibble. After a few days, the trainers work the pup through whatever issue has arisen, and the dog is back eagerly and happily ready to continue training.”

Unfortunately, the issue was not temporary for Lulu. She just doesn’t want to search for bombs. The CIA explained:

“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.”

Lulu was recruited by the agency as one of six dogs for the CIA’s first all-female puppy class in the fall of 2017. In her official bio, she was described as being the smallest dog in the class and “hyper and silly when she plays” but with an “easygoing sweetness.” She was also said to be “extremely sensitive to her surroundings and what is being asked of her.”

The purpose of the CIA’s K9 unit is to train dogs to do jobs like detecting explosives with their superior sense of smell. The pups are selected from local Virginia service dog organizations and after 10 weeks of training, graduate the program and go on to work full-time, helping their handlers to detect over 19,000 explosive scents. They also assist local law enforcement and other federal agencies when needed.

The CIA primarily utilizes Labrador Retrievers for the program, not only because of their intelligence, but also for their over-the-top energy, happy-go-lucky attitudes and, most importantly, love of eating. The trainers use food as a way of motivating the dogs to learn the skills needed for their job.

However, Lulu could not be motivated even with the tastiest of kibble and dog treats.

While Lulu wasn’t cut out for a career in bomb-sniffing, she did find her place in the world as a family pet. The trainer who worked with Lulu decided to adopt her, as all trainers are allowed to do when a dog leaves the program. Lulu is now reported to be living out her retirement in style: taking naps, hanging out with a fellow black lab named Harry, and sniffing out backyard squirrels for fun. Hey, that seems better than having a job!

The CIA doesn’t have any hard feelings, either, tweeting: “We’ll miss Lulu, but this was the right decision for her. We wish her all the best in her new life.”