Mr. Doomis | Credit: Courtesy

“Doomis,” a Labrador agriculture inspector, received official commendation from the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning for his long and successful career. In a final demonstration for the board, Doomis quickly sniffed out suspicious packages, alerting his handler, Christine Tyler, with paw scratches. Doomis has signaled an alert on 43,000 agricultural parcels with an accuracy rate of more than 94 percent, intercepting 550 pests.

“We are very grateful that you are honoring the work Doomis and Christine have done over the years to protect not only Santa Barbara’s agriculture and natural environment, but the state of California as well.” said Jose Chang, Santa Barbara Agricultural Commissioner.

Doomis, who began life as a stray in Georgia, had the good luck to be chosen by the United States Department of Agriculture to enter their national training center, where he stayed for an intensive weeks-long program. Tyler, an agricultural biologist, fondly remembers when she first met Doomis at the facility: “Once I got partnered with Doomis, everything changed. I knew he was my dog.”

There are currently 13 pest-prevention teams in California intercepting materials that could otherwise dramatically harm the state’s environment. “One Caribbean fruit fly could completely trash our [California’s] agriculture,” said Tyler. Doomis is trained to screen packages for the fruit, vegetables, plants, animals, and flowers that could be carrying pests. “He loves the work; if he could work all day, every day, he would die happy, but he’s 10 now and I can see him slowing down.”.

On Doomis’s last day, more than 30 people attended his retirement party at FedEx. “Confetti rained down on him, there was cake, and everyone could finally play with him,” Tyler recounted.

Almost a dozen coworkers and mail workers told Tyler they would happily adopt the popular Doomis, but there’s never been any question for her: “He’s been my best friend for seven years, and I’m so excited to spoil him rotten.” He’ll be joining her two Newfoundlands for a life full of endless treats, squeaky toys, and pets.


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