Christine Spigai

photo of man with yellow labradorIt is sunny and warm on most days in Orlando, FL, but we won’t find six-year-old Yellow Labrador Balto running off to the water for a dip. In fact, according to MSA Security®Explosive Detection Canine Handler and Balto’s partner, Jack Davis, swimming is not at the top of the list for this bomb dog who prefers to keep his cool indoors. “Balto is really laid back and enjoys an easy afternoon on the couch. But when it comes to his job, there’s no better canine. He has an incredible nose for odor and knows exactly what he needs to do. I may be on the other end of the leash, but Balto runs the show at work searching for explosives,” says Jack.


This MSA Explosive Detection Canine Team is trained and certified to screen cargo as part of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Third-Party Canine (3PK9) Program and work daily on behalf of an international freight shipper. Properly trained canines are proven to be the most effective and efficient way to screen cargo for explosives – up to 10 times faster than X-ray orphoto of yellow labrador on the floor trace detection methods regardless of whether it is loose cargo, pallets, cookie sheets or ULDs.


The pair is one of more than 900 MSA Detection Canine Teams and completed MSA's comprehensive Canine Detection Training Program at the company’s flagship training facility in Windsor, CT. They were trained on all five families of commercial explosives, including homemade and military grade explosives and are consistently validated through testing and certification on nationally recognized NAPWDA standards.


Prior to joining MSA, Jack served in security and law enforcement, even spending some time as a canine handler. He is grateful for the years of experience and the skill set he honed as an officer. “I developed greater discipline, patience and a strong attention to detail which are attributes that I depend on in my current role as an MSA Canine Handler,” he says. Jack is also appreciative for the ability to live with his four-legged partner, which was not an option early in his career. “I’m fortunate to have the best partner and when we’re finished working, we go home together. That’s great for both of us and really strengthens our connection. We are totally in sync,” says Jack.

All MSA Explosive and Firearms Detection Canines are paired with a single handler to reinforce a strong and unique working bond that enhances success in the field. Never kenneled, MSA canines live at home with handlers’ families to support a strong relationship and photo of yellow labrador with black cap on his headallow for daily training.


At home, Balto’s number-one fan is the family’s high-energy Bichon Frise, Scout, who is always waiting for big brother to get home for a lively game of tag. Jack’s wife may be allergic to dogs but comes in a close second in the fan base, pouring on affection for Balto and never missing out on their walks through the neighborhood or days at the dog park. And as you might expect, when they’re out together, this good-looking pup never fails to pick up a few new fans!


To meet additional MSA Explosive and Firearms Detection Canine Teams, and for timely content from MSA’s subject matter experts, be sure to subscribe to our blog.



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