TSA's puppy program honors victims of 9/11

U.S. Navy Captain Bob Dolan was working on homeland defense on September 11th when American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, killing him and 183 others.

“I remember looking at first photos of the Pentagon burning, and I did, I just knew, I just knew,” said Lisa Dolan, his widow.

Ten years later, Lisa Dolan is determined to keep her husband's memory alive. And now she's getting help from a Labrador retriever puppy named "Dolan" in honor of her husband.

Dolan is the 500th puppy born into the Transportation Security Administration's puppy program, which raises future explosives detection dogs to work in airports and mass transit systems nationwide.

The first litter born right after 9/11. The TSA uses volunteers in San Antonio and Austin to raise the dogs and all the puppies are named after 9/11 victims.

Though Dolan is being raised by a foster family in San Antonio, Lisa got to meet him in April.

“I just felt like I was hugging my husband,” she said.

She hopes Dolan will get assigned to protect Reagan National Airport so she can visit him regularly. But until then, she'll keep pictures of him close to her heart.

Lisa says her husband began his military career as an explosives ordnance expert, so it's quite fitting that Dolan will follow that same path.

While not every puppy in the program graduates to become a TSA bomb-sniffing dog, Lisa is confident Dolan will make it, and she plans to attend his graduation.

And down the road, when Dolan eventually retires, Lisa says she'll welcome him in her home with open arms.