WASHINGTON -- Before a crowd of wagging tails and wet noses, the U.S. Department of Agriculture honored some of its best workers yesterday: the Beagle Brigade, the airport dogs that sniff out food being smuggled into the country.
For a decade now, the USDA's beagles have been finding smuggled food that could be carrying plant or animal diseases. Yesterday, the department honored their service -- and seldom have federal workers seemed so frisky.
Abbott, the friendly dog who works at Miami International Airport, licked the face of Agriculture Secretary-designate Dan Glickman. Another beagle barked each time a USDA official was introduced.
In all, 11 USDA beagles attended the event. They were lauded for "great noses, sunny dispositions, green jackets and lots of hair."