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Groundhog rescued from runway at Washington Dulles

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Groundhog rescued from runway at Washington Dulles
TSA Explosives Detection Canine Handler Shelby Tibbs rescued a groundhog he spotted scurrying around the runway at Washington Dulles International Airport. Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

Aug. 23 (UPI) -- A Transportation Security Administration canine handler ended up putting his skills to the test with an entirely different species when he spotted a groundhog running around the runway at Washington Dulles International Airport.

TSA Explosives Detection Canine Handler Shelby Tibbs said he was finishing up a training exercise with Dux, his German short-haired pointer, when he spotted the groundhog wandering on the runway.

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Tibbs said he was concerned for the safety of the animal in the heat.

"It was really hot that day and the tarmac felt like more than 100 degrees" with the heat index, Tibbs said in a TSA news release.

Tibbs, who has a background in animal control, drove over to the groundhog and was able to safely wrap the animal in a leash to prevent it from biting.

"I think he wanted to catch a flight to someplace cold because it was very hot that day. I guess he couldn't buy a ticket," Tibbs joked. "But he was a very good passenger while we drove to the nearby creek."

Tibbs' coworkers nicknamed him the "Groundhog Whisperer" as a result of the rescue.

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