Beloved Airport Patrol Dog Passes Away From Prostate Cancer [Video]

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
A legendary border collie named Piper has died, leaving behind many who valued his work at the Cherry Capital Airport in Michigan.

Nine-year-old border collie Piper has battled prostate cancer for the last year and his human, Cherry Capital Airport Operations Manager Brian Edwards, confirmed that Piper succumbed to the cancer.

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Piper became an overnight celebrity when video showing him being the amazing watchdog at the airport went viral. Piper was well-known for running stray wildlife and birds off the runway, leading the way for planes to safely take the treks in and out.

In a post, Edwards said that Piper enjoyed a day full of love from family and friends, and chased one last snowy owl.

Friends,It is with the ultimate sadness I must report the passing of my best friend and love of my life.Piper passed…

Posted by Cherry Capital Airport K-9 Team on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

In 2016, a picture and gif of him in his cool goggles as he was on patrol went viral after being posted on Reddit. Piper’s Instagram had nearly 100,000 followers and the K9 team at the airport was liked by nearly 30,000 fans.

Edwards has been open in sharing what life was like for Piper, who wasn’t initially used to working around an airport and all the loud sounds and happenings. He said that he built trust with Piper, who worked four ten-hour shifts a week protecting the runway from birds and other wildlife who’d get in the way. According to the airport K9 team’s website, he chased 8,367 birds, patrolled 1,907 miles and worked 6,202 hours.

Piper was part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s requirement that the airport has a plan to manage hazards from wildlife. Using a dog is a rare, but clearly effective method.

Related: Story of Airport Service Dog’s Retirement Party Gives Us Wings!

Piper’s death announcement also showed a photo of the flag the U.S.Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City flew, and was taken down and given to Edwards as a remembrance.

Good job, Piper. Good job. Rest well now.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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