SEPTA Security Patrol Dog Dodi worked the Super Bowl this year

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While former Eagles coach Andy Reid led the Kansas City Chiefs to a comeback win over the 49ers, another Philly favorite was performing a different heroic task in Miami.

Dodi, a 6-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, helped keep Super Bowl LIV guests safe.

An accomplished bomb-sniffing K-9, Dodi usually works for SEPTA Transit Police. But for the past week and a half, she was stationed 1,200 miles south, helping officials in Florida sniff out potential peril.

For most of her time there, she was deployed along Miami’s public transportation network. But Sunday night, she was called to prime duty: patrolling the grounds outside Hard Rock Stadium.

How’d one of Philly’s sweet baby angels end up working the Super Bowl? Turns out this is a pretty regular protocol.

SEPTA Transit Police has a couple dozen police dogs — officials wouldn’t say exactly how many, citing security concerns — and five of them are funded by the federal government. That means national authorities can borrow them if the need arises.

“She’s a TSA dog,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel III told Billy Penn. “They pay for all the training, all the upkeep, and in exchange for that we agree to help the TSA with national security events.”

Dodi and her handler, Officer Ted Hrycyszyn, flew south together — and tweeted the highlights along the way.

TSA doesn’t ask for Philly pups that often, Nestel said, and the last time they wanted to borrow one, it was a little more convenient: SEPTA provided the feds with a dog for the 2015 World Meeting of Families, when Pope Francis visited Philly.

For Super Bowl LIV, TSA borrowed a handful of dogs from all over the country.

It’s a fair trade, per Nestel, who said the addition of the five canine officers is a huge help to SEPTA’s security team.

“Unfortunately a lot of passengers leave bags behind,” Nestel said. “Within five minutes, we can be there with a dog to ensure that bag is not an explosive device. It’s a really important part of mass transit.”

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Michaela Winberg

Michaela Winberg is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She covers LGBTQ people and culture, public spaces, and transportation and mobility. She also sometimes produces radio and web features...