Zeta, a Ministry for Primary Industries employee,
investigates the contents of a suitcase. Photo by Christina
When some workers were battling the back-to-work blues
after a summer holiday, biosecurity sniffer dog Zeta was
tugging at the reins to get back on the job.
Zeta started at Queenstown Airport last month and is the
airport's first permanent biosecurity dog, working the
Handler Belinda Phelon said on Zeta's first day back the dog
was ''pulling on the lead to get to the terminal''.
The days before Christmas were particularly busy for the
''One family brought everything in for a barbecue, including
a frozen chicken.
''And we got a lot of turkey sandwiches over Christmas from
Another family had brought in a selection of fruit and cooked
vegetables because they feared no shops would be open on
One ''seizure'' Ms Phelon is particularly proud of Zeta for
sniffing out is two small undeclared pieces of aloe vera leaf
in a tightly packed suitcase.
''Leaves are very hard to detect on the X-ray, so when we
make a seizure like that I'm stoked because Zeta has done her
job really well.''
The dog's ''lovable'' personality and looks sometimes worked
to her detriment, when passengers could not resist the urge
to pat her.
''Sometimes I have to be gruff and say don't pat the dog,''
Ms Phelon said.