Veteran Fort Worth K9 Firefighter Retires After 55-Plus (Dog) Years

The Fort Worth Fire Department is preparing to say goodbye to a veteran member of the department.

Quigley Ikerd has served the department for more than 55 years -- well 55 "dog years."

On Wednesday, the department is holding a retirement ceremony for the beloved bomb-detecting dog who joined the force in 2011.

"He's got some ailments and some minor things. I can tell he's definitely slowed down and he can't go as long as he used to, but he doesn't know that," his partner and handler Mike Ikerd chuckled. "He still thinks he's young."

But, sadly the 10-year-old Labrador isn’t young anymore and though he’s not ready to call it quits, the department thinks it is best for him.

"You want them to be able to retire and relax and have a little bit of good life after the dog. That's kind of where we're at with him," Ikerd said. "To make it 10 years of working is pretty good for most dogs."

Quigley has been a vital part of the department's bomb squad having worked some high-profile events including the Super Bowl.

“I trust his nose with my life and so do our team members," Ikerd said. "Their noses are amazing and their noses can detect more than any electronic machine that we have."

The department tries to keep three of the bomb-detecting dogs on staff; called the “hidden heroes” by some.

Quigley’s replacement is 3-year-old Barkevious who is the next level of bomb-detecting dog. Barkevious can sniff out explosives on moving targets, including people.

“A lot of times you don’t see us, but you go to all these special events and we’ve been there probably hours before anyone else has gotten there,” Ikerd said.

Ikerd has now adopted Quigley from the city so the pair will remain together even in retirement.

"It’s hard for me to leave him at home," Ikerd said. "When I’m leaving, he’s standing there looking at me – and he’s like 'what about me?'"

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