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Qualls and Rhoden: Working to keep DIA safe

7:05 PM, Nov 8, 2011   |    comments
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He could also be excited because he's thinking, "Where's my ball, where's my ball?" Rhoden explained.

Rhoden is Qualls' handler.

"He has a job and he gets to play once he does work," Rhoden said.

Qualls is an explosive-detection dog. He works with his handler for the Transportation Security Administration, screening cargo at Denver International Airport before it gets on the plane with passengers.

"He never stops," Rhoden said. "He has such an extreme drive and love for what he does."

Rhoden is an Iraqi war veteran. He served two tours of duty as part of the U.S. Air Force. Qualls is a 2-and-a-half-year-old dog named after 20 year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Louis W. Qualls, who was killed in action while serving in Iraq in 2004, near where Rhoden served.

"Every day is a reminder that our freedom is not free. I come here and I put in great effort with the K-9. Every single day we get better. Every single day we make sure the traveling public is safe," Rhoden said.

The TSA can't tell us how many times, if any, Qualls has found explosives. But during training, if Qualls finds something, he will sit and let Rhoden know.

"Then I give him a toy and praise and interaction and a job well done," Rhoden said.

The TSA says every piece of cargo is screened, a lot of it by dogs like Qualls.

You will see a number of different dogs while you're traveling through DIA, many of them are doing different jobs.

One request from their handlers is that no matter how cute they are, and they're quite handsome, please don't pet the animals because they are working.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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