In 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 carrying 155 people from New York’s LaGuardia airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina was forced to land on the Hudson River after impact with a flock of geese caused both engines to fail. The flight was later referred to as the “Miracle on the Hudson” since no one was killed in the near tragedy. But this incident showed the danger wildlife can pose to airplanes.
That’s where dogs like K-9 Piper comes in.
A Border Collie employed at the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan, Piper works to herd birds and other wildlife from the runways and taxiways with his handler, Brian Edwards.
The website reports that Piper was trained in obedience and socialized to become accustomed to airport noises. The rest of his job is simply Border Collie instinct. “Chasing wildlife away comes pretty natural to this guy!” the site says.
Several companies have donated equipment for Piper, including boots for when he’s on hot or cold pavement, a safety vest, and dog goggles.
Despite the safety precautions, sometimes accidents happen. Last November Piper fractured a toe while chasing an owl. He was treated and put in a cast (seen in the photo above), which was finally removed Feb. 22.
Nearly 3 months to the day, we took this same pic, which was his first day back with the cast. Well, the cast is off! Time to start the road to recovery. The next two weeks are critical, fingers crossed! Thanks everyone for all the love, we're grateful ❤️ # #airportk9 #airport #k9 #k9team #aviation #injury #getwell #recovery #grateful #bordercollie #bordercolliesofinstagram #proudbordercollies #dog #dogsoffreedom #dogsofinstagram #workingdog #workingdogsofig #traversecity #puremichigan
See Piper in action here: