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  • - When he goes out and actually deploys to chase something,

  • it looks like a missile launch.

  • I just open up the back door and he jumps out.

  • It's a lot of fun.

  • Piper is the only dog working at this airport,

  • and there's actually only a handful of dogs

  • working at airports around the country.

  • It's a pretty rare thing.

  • I am Brian Edwards.

  • Piper and I work at the Cherry Capital Airport

  • in Traverse City, Michigan.

  • Piper is a Border Collie.

  • Piper's prime function here is wildlife control.

  • Primarily, Piper is going to be chasing away

  • large waterfowl like ducks and geese.

  • In the wintertime, it actually chases away the snowy owl,

  • and then in the summertime,

  • it's basically seagulls and crows.

  • Birds can cause a lot of different types of damage.

  • Most bird strikes are with smaller

  • types of birds that might just cause dents,

  • but if the bird is large enough

  • and is ingested into an engine,

  • that can cause serious failure

  • like the Miracle on the Hudson.

  • Training specifically for us took

  • about a year, year and a half.

  • So, the way that we've trained is that

  • anytime I deploy Piper out of the truck,

  • he doesn't just run away from the truck,

  • he always runs the direction we were traveling.

  • A lot of times I deploy him when the vehicle is moving,

  • so that's just the way that we trained.

  • A lot of times I try to get him to see

  • what it is he's gonna chase first.

  • The goggles, or the Rec Specs, serve two purposes for him.

  • One, they're UV protectant so they protect his eyes,

  • and number two, they're safety goggles, basically.

  • It's one of those things that if he wants to

  • go out and work or have fun, he's gotta wear it.

  • Yeah, good boy!

  • Go get 'em, buddy! Go get em!

  • Dogs are really useful for wildlife control

  • because specifically Border Collies, it's in their blood.

  • Eventually, the goal is to train the birds

  • and other animals that they don't wanna be here

  • because there's a predator in town,

  • something that's gonna keep harassing them all the time.

  • Piper's been with me at the airport for almost three years.

  • He's pretty much with me all the time.

  • I don't think Piper sees it as work,

  • I think it's all play to him, which is what we want, right?

  • The best thing personally with Piper,

  • and it's been this way before we started working,

  • he's got a mind of his own.

  • I talk to him like I would talk to anybody else.

  • He's my bro.

  • Does it get any better than that?

  • I get to work with my best friend every day,

  • I'm extremely proud of him,

  • I couldn't ask for anything more.

  • (orchestral music)

- When he goes out and actually deploys to chase something,

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B2 H-INT US GreatBigStory piper bird airport goggles deploy

Meet the Dog Protecting Planes From Bird Strikes

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    Eunice Lin   posted on 2020/08/14
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