TODAY | November 13, 2012
>>> we're back now at 7:43 with an update on a touching story we brought you last year about a tsa bomb detection puppy and the 9/11 victim he was named after. the puppy is now all grown up and nbc's tom costello just returned from his graduation ceremony . tomorrow, good morning.
>> sweet story. you may remember the puppy's name is dolan . he stole the show here when he was on the "today" show of the family of the captain bob dolan , and now dolan the dog is headed to the front lines with the tsa. it was 18 months ago when we first dolan and his playmates at lackland air force base in san antonio , part of the boot camp that traipse these noses to sniff out explosives but something about this puppy made him special.
>> this is dolan , number 500.
>> reporter: 500th puppy to go through the tsa program and every dog is named after one of the 3,000 people who died on 9/11.
>> this is just such an honor. i can't even tell you what an honor this is for me.
>> reporter: dolan was named after lisa dolan 's husband, navy captain bob dolan who died in the pentagon on 9/11. on the "today" show lisa met dolan for the first time.
>> he will o', baby.
>> reporter: 18 months later dolan is all grown up.
>> good boy. good boy.
>> reporter: and with his handler now ready to graduate from the tsa's bomb detection academy.
>> over here.
>> reporter: a big day for which lisa and rebecca have driven all the way to san antonio .
>> hello, baby. do you remember me? oh, my gosh. do you remember me? yes, that's rebecca .
>> reporter: whether it was the reunion or our microphone that caught his attention, dolan was wound up. so what is it like to see him all grown up?
>> it 's wonderful .
>> it 's wonderful . i know now he's going to go out there and going to work, and i also know, i have the -- the knowledge now that he remembers us so that's exciting.
>> reporter: at graduation ceremony dolan led the procession. sleigh and rebecca were there and so were 14-year-old aidan and his mom laurie who helped raise dolan while he was a puppy in san antonio , and then had to let him go.
>> it was kind of hard, yes, it was.
>> reporter: a lot of work?
>> yes, for some people it's like another job, honestly.
>> reporter: sniffing for bombs is a big game for the tsa dogs, but half the puppies in the program wash out. not dolan .
>> good boy. good boy. that's a good boy.
>> reporter: now dolan is leaving the tsa's training terminal in texas and head for a new assignment in maui, and he's headed there with two of his classmates, right? handler frank d'angelo is going with him.
>> they are like a 2-year-old almost, and, you know, some days they are terrible 2s and some days they are excellent, but overall it's all good.
>> reporter: for rebecca dolan whose dad was a bomb technician it's all come full circle .
>> i ream really proud when i tell them my dad was the bomb guy.
>> reporter: with his tail in perpetual motion , dolan is on his way. the real winner is the handler, being reassigned from alaska to hawaii and there could be more puppies following up in his paw prints .
>> glad we followed up on that. tom costello.