Airport dog makes living chasing animals off runways

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He chases birds and animals off runways for a living (WLS)

A 7-year-old border collie has become pretty popular because of his job at a Michigan airport.

Nearly four million people have clicked on a video of Piper the border collie, WXMI-TV reports. He's being called the coolest dog ever, decked out in goggles and a safety vest while a helicopter roars behind him.

"He's very well equipped. Obviously the specks are to protect his eyes. They are sunglasses first and foremost. The earmuffs obviously are for sound, when he's close to aircraft. And the vest is so I can lift him up and do all sorts of cool things with him," said Brian Edwards, airport operations supervisor.

Edwards works alongside Piper every day, holding down the fort at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City.

"It's the best thing in the world. I couldn't imagine anything else now. I love it," Edwards said. "He's got a really great personality. He's really well trained, loves people once he gets to know them."

His job is to run, keeping the runways clear and the aircraft safe by chasing all kinds of creatures out of the flights path.

"Piper is a wildlife control canine, and basically what he does is chases away all sorts of wildlife," Edwards said. "Birds, fox... you name it, from the runways. Anything we don't want to come into contact with aircrafts."

Edwards said the point is to increase safety.

"We've noticed a reduction in birds, primarily the snowy owl. That's his favorite thing to chase in the whole wide world," Edwards said.

And while he doesn't receive an actual paycheck for his services, he gets rewarded in other ways.

"He gets treats, having the job is rewarding for him," Edwards said. "Because that's what they're bred to do, they need a job to keep their minds going."

Edwards says he adopted Piper back in 2012.

"When I got him he was very well trained already," he said.

Piper turned out to be a perfect fit after a little practice.

"I knew he had that aptitude, and we just needed to hone that," Edwards said.

Obstacle after obstacle, and a whole lot of treats later, Piper is an asset, keeping the airport running smooth.

"It's been an amazing journey," Edwards said. "That's been pretty much the most fulfilling thing for me is to see him grow at an older age."

Piper's adventures are chronicled in photos and video on the Cherry Capital Airport Instagram page.

Piper even has his own web page.
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