When reflecting on the personality of a Labrador Retriever, I think: simple, loyal, and happy. My Labrador never seems to analyze our relationship, or which park we visit. He is happy with whatever comes his way. Always easy to please, he's so simple. All over the world, Labradors are celebrated for their "Sure, buddy!" personality.

Yet in Washington, D.C., a new trend has emerged among our nation's most elite canine special forces. The dog handlers who serve the CIA, the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Department of Defense have all started to call on the Labrador in recent years. Is it possible that Labradors have something special to offer?

Our Greatest Weakness Is Our Greatest Strength

A Labrador Retriever in a dangerous situation, such as bomb-sniffing, seems out of character. After all, we're used to seeing him playing with flying discs at the company picnic, not in the line of fire. Can he set aside his exuberance long enough to get the job done?

Yet that exuberance is precisely the reason they're fit for the elite special forces in Washington. In an interview with Petcentric, a representative from The Old Dominion Animal Health Center in McLean, VA (home of the CIA) said that Labradors are "easy to handle around people and crowds," and have "amazing noses." Most people are aware of Labradors' superior sniffers. Yet who would have pointed to their cheerful crowd-pleasing personalities as strengths fit for the CIA?

German Shepherd Dogs are still a "go-to" for professionals in the security industry. After all, they're the classic police dog. But when a Labrador is subject to chaos and danger, they revert to meek submission, which can be preferable in certain situations. For an agency whose specialty is intelligence, this was one clever connection to make.

Respect for the Job

My veterinarian has the honor of caring for the elite canine teams of the Pentagon, CIA, FBI, and Secret Service. I've always respected these dogs and stood in awe of their abilities. Whenever I see them at the veterinarian next to my dog Torah, I feel like smoothing Torah's collar and telling him to sit up straight.

We can all thank our canine special forces for their service. If you'd like to send a note of appreciation to these incredible teams (both Labradors and German Shepherds love to hear from the people they protect!) write to:

Canine Special Forces Care Team
Old Dominion Animal Health Center c/o Bob Youngblood
6719 Lowell Avenue
McLean, VA 22101