Dog’s Life: Ecuador retires 61 police dogs with honors

A police officer and his dog attend a ceremony to officially retire 61 police dogs who've spent years sniffing out illegal drugs and who helped rescuers find victims trapped under rubble during the country's tragic 2016 earthquake. in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, May 9, 2018. The dogs will be part of new families who have been approved for adoption. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Walking down a red carpet on all fours as an honor band plays Ecuador’s national anthem, 61 police dogs are being officially retired after years spent sniffing out illegal drugs.

The majority of the dogs — Labradors, German shepherds and Golden Retrievers on the whole — are being taken in by their former trainers. But the rest were adopted by families who opened their homes to a police inspection as part of a rigorous selection process to ensure the canines have a dignified retirement.

Police dogs in Ecuador on average serve for 9 years. Most of their work revolves finding cocaine smuggled through Ecuador. But 16 of dogs retired in Wednesday’s ceremony helped locate victims trapped under rubble following a 2016 earthquake that left more than 600 people dead.

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