For Beagle Brigades, the Nose Knows | Reader's Digest

For Beagle Brigades, the Nose Knows

By Caitlin O'Connell

Meet Linus, federal agent. He’s also a 6-year-old beagle.

Last night’s NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams ran a special report on Beagle Brigades, adorable teams of rescue beagles that assist the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol by sniffing out illegal plants and fruits at airports.

The segment follows Linus, who patrols Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, GA alongside handler Rusty Adams and detects prohibited agricultural items travelers have packed in their luggage. Like other members of the Beagle Brigades, Linus was rescued from an animal shelter. The program specifically recruits abandoned beagles, recognizing they’re likely to work hard for the affection of their handlers. Their cuteness is also a factor; they are less intimidating, for example, than German Shepherds. Since its start in 1984, the program has saved thousands of beagles nobody wanted.

The video is fascinating and well worth a look—if only Snoopy could see how far his fellow beagles have come, maybe he’d spend less time moping! Check out the full clip below.

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