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Decoy retires from hunting bed bugs

Decoy and his handler, DougAmeriSpec Omaha and Lincoln would like to wish a happy retirement to one of our esteemed colleagues at our partner company, Pest Solutions 365. Decoy, our bedbug-hunting dog, did his last bedbug inspection July 18, and has since retired.

“He is 8 years old, which is 61 years old in human years for a laborador,” said Doug Gorham, Decoy’s owner and handler. “He’s a senior citizen in big dog years.”

Although Decoy’s nose is just as sharp as ever, his joints were giving him problems. “Decoy would work a full day and inspect a bunch of apartments, but then he couldn’t go down stairs or jump in the truck,” Gorham explained. “Then he wouldn’t want to get up and get his food the next morning.”

“It wasn’t worth it to see him in pain,” Gorham said. “So it was time for Decoy to retire.”

“We are sorry to see Decoy leave,” said Tom Sutko, president and owner of Pest Solutions 365. “He and Doug have done a wonderful job for us.”

Both Doug and Decoy completed a higher level of detection training in August 2013 at one of two facilities certified by the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association (NESDCA).

They took training classes through ACES Bed Bug Dogs in Canton, GA. They also went through certification training for Presto-X prior to joining the PS365 team five years ago.

Doug and Decoy have inspected thousands of apartments, homes and businesses since then, Gorham said. He will continue to be the bed bug treatment expert. But he does not plan to get another bed bug-hunting dog.

Gorham and his fiancée have a 5-year-old son. In addition to working full time, his fiancée is also going to nursing school, he said. It would be impossible to train a new dog at his home, and the family’s current schedule wouldn’t allow him to travel to another site each day for training.

So now Decoy is just a regular family pet, Gorham said. “But when we travel, we’ll still have Decoy check out our cabins or hotel rooms for bugs for us.”

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