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Piper the wonder dog is the coolest airport employee in the US

Piper, reporting for duty. Photo: airportk9.org Piper is a runway patrol dog in Michigan. Photo: airportk9.org
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A border collie named Piper is one of the most important employees at an airport in the US.

Birds have been known to lurk on runways and then strike aircraft, potential causing damage to the plane – therefore all airports are required to have some kind of plan to rid runways of wildlife.

Most usually engage more traditional, technological methods such as traps, sirens or pyrotechnics.

But not in Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport, in Michigan.

That duty falls on Piper, who, as a border collie, is highly skilled in the very important business of chasing birds and other wildlife from areas they do not belong.   It’s #workingdogwednesday! Pipe’s hot on the heels of a chipmunk during a routine patrol at @uscg #airstatvc. That fence… Photo © Jason Lome #airportk9 #airport #airportops #aviation #k9 #k9team #workingdog #rexspecs #rexspecsk9 #uscg #uscoastguard #military #usmilitary #bordercollie #bordercollies #bordercolliesoftheworld #bordercolliesofinstagram #dog #dogstagram #dogoftheday #dogsoffreedom #dogsofinstagram #traversecity #tcmi #puremichiganA photo posted by K-9 Piper (@airportk9) on Jul 15, 2015 at 10:39am PDT

Dressed in ski mask and boots, Piper has been trained to become accustomed to airport noise and wears specially designed doggy earmuffs to protect his hearing.

His specially designed vest allows him to be easily lifted and to keep him in check in the face of an interloper (he’s still a dog, after all).

It also carries his identification and a beacon so he can be seen, plus an emergency trauma kit – just in case.

Boots protect Piper’s paws from hot pavement and rocks and keeps snow and ice at bay during winter.   Certified #badass. # #airportk9 #airport #aviation #k9 #k9team #k9storm #spikesk9fund #tactical #thetacticspage #rexspecs #rexspecsk9 #muttmuffs #ruffwear #bordercollie #bordercolliesofinstagram #bordercolliesoftheworld #dog #dogsoffreedom #dogsofinstagram #traversecity #tcmi #puremichigan @rexspecsk9 @k9storminc @dogsoffreedom @dogsofinstagram @thetacticspage @spikes_k9_fund @becausebadass @ruffwearA photo posted by K-9 Piper (@airportk9) on Oct 5, 2015 at 2:19pm PDT

The seven-year-old border collie works four 10-hour shifts a week, (with plenty of breaks, we’re assured). To date he’s chased 2450 birds away, and patrolled over 960 kilometres of airport turf.

Piper has a list of duties (we’re not sure if they come with a set of KPIs) which include checks for wildlife holes under the perimeter fence; to keep employees, tenants and visitors smiling; to respond to reports of wildlife; and to detect rodents and small mammals before birds of prey do.

Airport operations staff claim that using a dog to chase wildlife away is more effective as creatures such as the snowy owl who remember Piper don’t return.

However, every job does have its drawbacks, as Piper discovered last year when he suffered a fracture after chasing away a snowy owl.

His foot was placed in a cast and he was reassigned to a temporary position as Chief Morale Officer.   PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT There is a Lady Killer on the loose. He’s dashing, charming and charismatic. He is considered casted and dangerous. He’s so brash, he advertises his Lady Killer ways on his cast! Here is a photograph of the Airport’s administration ladies he slayed today. Ladies of the world, you’ve been warned ❤️ # #airportk9 #airport #k9 #k9team #k9storm #aviation #ladies #ladiesman #ladykiller #love #bordercollie #bordercolliesofinstagram #proudbordercollies #dog #dogsoffreedom #dogsofinstagram #workingdog #puremichigan @dogsofinstagram @proudbordercollies @collieloversA photo posted by K-9 Piper (@airportk9) on Feb 5, 2016 at 4:26pm PST

You can follow Piper’s progress on social media – Facebook , Instagram @airportk9 and online at 老域名airportk9.org/

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