Agata is one of her country's best drug-sniffing dogs. She is also the only Columbian police dog to have a contract put out on her by drug smugglers.
Agata is but one of almost 700 dogs employed in the fight againt drugs in a country that is the world's largest producer of cocaine. The dogs are used to detect explosives as well as cocaine and heroine.
Stationed in the southern Amazon, Agata's beat is the local airport. In 2004, she was responsible for a string of drug busts which led to a bounty placed on her head. Police intercepted a message from drug traffickers outlining plans to poison the golden Labrador retriever. Since then they have maintained a 24 hour monitoring of her food to guard against poisoning.
Agata's daily duties include sniffing out 5 cargo planes and one passenger flight. She began her career in 2003 and since then has helped track down 300 kilos (660 pounds) of cocaine and 20 kilos (44 pounds) of heroine. She has been decorated by the police force for her work in the field.
In Columbia, drug-sniffing dogs work in the field for up to 7 years. Agata is 5 and there is already talk about retiring her.
As her police trainer put it, "I am waiting for the day that happens so that I can take her to my house and let her rest, which is what she deserves."
I hope she gets to retire very soon as well...before anything untoward happens to her. This dog has more than earned her keep and a a leisurely life of retirement where she just gets to lie around or play in the backyard.