In April, Rockland County's first bomb squad K-9 retired. Lollie, 11, served as an explosive detection officer for the past nine years and this black Labrador retriever's number, 454, retired with her.
Melissa Johnston, Lollie's handler, has a new bomb squad dog by her side. 2-year-old Annie, also a black Lab, starts in August.
"(Annie) She’ll go to school for a month and then her handler Melissa joins her at school in September for two months, so it’s a total of three months of training," said Sheriff’s Department Capt. William Barbera. "She looks like she could be Lollie’s baby. They look so alike."
Lollie was purchased from the county by Johnston, for $1.
"Annie just turned two,” said Johnston. “(Lollie) She’s doing good. She’s adjusting to life at home. She still wants to go to work with me everyday though. They live together now. Annie gets her to play and brings out the playul side of Lollie.”
"It's sad to see her go because she's still full of energy left in her, but ... the usual life of a bomb dog is nine years (so she has to retire)," said Rockland Sheriff Louis Falco. "She put herself in harm's way a lot. Lollie is No. 1 in our hearts."
Lollie has swept schools, government offices, businesses, infrastructure and suspicious packages. She has played critical roles in homeland security missions with state and federal authorities. She has also assisted the U.S. Secret Service in advance of presidential visits, checked for explosives at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and helped in the county's largest illegal fireworks seizure.
"(Lollie's retirement) is well deserved," said Johnston. "I think she's had a great impact on the department. She's done ... thousands of searches for explosives. She's definitely worked very hard."
Gunner, another bomb squad dog, will retire at the end of August.