Trainer Cliff Samson and Flash, who has passed two national explosive-detecting
tests with flying colours, gets bomb-detection duty.
It's a pound-to-podium dream for Flash the Labrador from Manitoba who's earned
a trip to Vancouver for the Olympics.
The former stray dog will now be sniffing for explosives in Vancouver, after a
whirlwind 15 months where he went from a shelter near Steinbach to a job as a trained bomb hunter for the Office of the Fire
Now, the one-time rescue dog and his trainer, Cliff Samson, will be at the Olympics
for the next six weeks providing security for global VIPs. The RCMP contracted the two to help ensure Olympic sites are safe
for spectators, athletes and international celebrities.
"If you've got an explosive-detector dog, going to the Olympics is probably got
to be the highlight of your career," said Samson, the OFC's canine program co-ordinator.
"It's on the world stage. All of the atmosphere that goes along with it, I'm really
looking forward to it."
Samson is a retired 26-year veteran of the Winnipeg Police Service who once ran
the canine unit.
He's now employed by the OFC to train search and rescue dogs.
Samson has provided security for luminaries like Gov. Gen. MichaŽlle Jean, former
U.S. president Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth when they came to Manitoba.
Now Samson is bringing Flash along as his partner to Vancouver.
The two hit the road Monday for their trip to the West Coast. Flash is trained
for search and rescue missions, as well as for explosive detection.
On Monday, the 70-pound pup gave visitors a friendly lick before jumping up on
a York Avenue garbage disposal, sticking his long nose into openings to get a good whiff.
If Flash smells something suspicious, he alerts Samson by sitting down.
Samson found Flash after he was alerted by Hilda Hiebert, the founder of Safe
Haven Pet Rescue.
She'd taken the stray dog from a pound and noticed he had a strong "play drive."
Flash was about 18 months old when he met Samson in Steinbach on Hiebert's lawn.
"Nobody wanted him," said Hiebert.
"I showed him to a number of people."
Now, about one year later, Flash's passed two national explosive-detecting tests
with flying colours.
"In this instance, it worked out great because he not only got a second chance
at life but he's also famous, " said Samson.
Flash was named by OFC employees -- a fitting reference to the subject matter
he deals with such as flash fires or flash-bangs of explosives.
"He's got big sad eyes that everybody loves," said Samson, who said he's teased
because Flash is a "chick magnet."
"He'll tilt his head. It's like he's listening and trying to understand," said