Chevee, a beagle, enjoys a treat from his handler, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist Rusty Adams. after finding prohibited items in a suitcase.

Hartsfield-Jackson K9s retire from service along with handlers

Two K9 handlers at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport are retiring after years of working for U.S. Customs and Border Protection -- and their canines will retire from service at the same time.

Rusty Adams joined CBP in 2005 after a career with Delta Air Lines and began working as a canine handler in 2007 as part of the “Beagle Brigade.”

This K9 beagle will retire at the same time as his handler, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer Rusty Adams.

Now, as he looks toward retiring at the end of next week, his K9 beagle Chevee will also complete his service.

“They’re like your children,” Adams said. “You have a really close bond with your partner.”

Chevee, an agricultural beagle at the airport, lives at a kennel nearby in a sterile environment so his senses are ready to work to detect prohibited food in passengers’ bags.

But after finishing his tour of duty, Chevee will go to live with the family of his caretaker at the kennel.

“She will send me pictures. We will get to Facetime,” Adams said. 

CBP Officer Becky Shuford is also retiring, and plans to move to Florida -- with her partner Blesk, a Belgian Shepherd. 

CBP officer Becky Shuford with her partner, Blesk, a Belgian Shepherd.

“The bond is unbreakable,” Shuford said. “Wherever he goes, I go.” 

In Blesk’s retired life, “he’s going to be spoiled,” Shuford said. “He loves people... He’s a very, very sweet dog.”

Blesk and his handler, CBP officer Becky Shuford.

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.