MSA Security is unlike many other security service providers. As many of you already know, we provide explosive detection canines, over 200 of them currently, to clients throughout the United States and abroad. As a handler, for over 20 years now, I can say without question, these animals are more than our business they are our friends and integral members of our family unit. It is this integration that makes MSA’s EDC teams so effective. The bond between dog and handler weighs heavily on the accuracy and effectiveness of the EDC as a tool to combat potential terrorists. There is no better way to develop that bond than to invite your partner into your home. I have been blessed with excellent partners, Sky and Shalee, during my tenure with MSA. The two of them were great friends and I had the pleasure of watching my children grow up as my partners grew older.
I worked with Sky for 5 years before he retired at 9 years old, as most of MSA’s EDCs do. It was important to everyone that he had some time to “just be a dog”. He passed away peacefully a few years back shortly after he had turned 14. Shalee was sad at first and truly missed her buddy; but, she had a job to do and to keep her mind busy. Whether it was special events, sporting venues or the world’s busiest passenger ferry, Shalee was always ready to do the work she loved, protecting people. In addition to being serious about her work, Shalee was also seriously into her blankets “nest – because we called her bird”, her stuffed animals, our other furry friends and family time (see below).
Unfortunately, I came home last week to the news that Shalee had been afflicted with hemangiosarcoma. This is a cancer of the blood vessels. In Shalee’s case, because it was so close to her heart, it was not treatable. Shalee was laid to rest on the 27th of August; and will always be remembered for the great works she did and for being a our friend.
As I spoke with the Director of Canine Training about Shalee, I realized just how many other handlers have had similar news in the past year. It turns out that, when you have 200 animals in the field, even with all the good works MSA EDCs do for others; our friends still grow old, retire and eventually pass on. This blog is in memory, not just of Shalee, but, of all of our friends, past and present and all that they have done and continue to do for our company, families and clients.