Guild of Shepherds & Collies

Border Collie K-9 Protects Airport Runway

Wildlife Control K-9 Protects Airport Runway from Birds

Piper, a Border Collie K-9 from Michigan, proudly protected airport runways at Traverse City Airport (Cherry Capital Airport) by ensuring they are free from birds, which can become a threat to pilots during take-off and landing.

Piper's training included obedience and off lead control, as well as special training to get him accustomed to aircraft noise. He wore a ski mask to protect his eyes, boots to protect his paws, and MuttMuffs to protect his hearing. Working in ten-hour shifts, four days a week, Piper worked very hard. He also got plenty of breaks and lots of love.

In addition to his important runway tasks, he was in charge of boosting morale among employees, tenants and visitors - which he did exceedingly well. According to Best Travel Destination, "He is the only Wildlife Control K-9 on staff at an airport in Michigan and the airport believes one of less than ten in the United States. Nothing gets in the way of Piper giving 100 per cent effort on the job, but the black and white mutt sadly suffered a fracture on the job chasing a snowy owl on the taxiway in 2015." Since his injury, he had been reassigned as the airport's Chief Morale Officer, which entailed getting lots of hugs and attention from airport staff and visitors.

His tens of thousands of fans on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other social media sites sent tons of wishes for his recovery and return to the runway - protecting pilots, crew and passengers from potential dangers. Piper did recover, and got back out there!

He worked a few more years in his dream job which he loved, right up to his last day before passing from cancer in 2018.

Here's the original video we shared about him back in 2016.


K-9 Protects Michigan Runway from BirdsThis dog takes airport security to a new level.

Posted by The Weather Channel on Saturday, February 27, 2016


And here is a sweet tribute video posted by his Airport K-9 team. Thanks, Piper, for protecting the airport from deadly dangers, and keeping all those people safe. You were a true hero!



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