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Meet Piper The Very Cool Dog Who Works To Keep Airport Runways Safe

He's almost too cool.

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Piper came on as wildlife manager in January 2015, and works a full-time shift from 4 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

His handler and owner, Brian Edwards, has been working at the airport as the airport operations supervisor since 2008.


Edwards and Piper begin their day clearing any deer, foxes, and other wildlife from the runway area. Piper also seeks out ground hog holes for Edwards to fill along the airport's fence.

The airport attracts flocks of Canadian geese and water fowl, airport spokesperson Susan Wilcox Olson told BuzzFeed News. Snowy owls will also fly into the airport during the winter.


Edwards will get a call over his radio from aircraft traffic control that a bird or flock was spotted around the airport. He and Piper then jump in a truck toward the reported fowl. Edwards points and Piper runs to scare the birds away.

Edwards just says, "You going to go get 'em, bud?" Piper instantly goes into "launch mode," as he calls it.

Instagram: @airportk9 / Via

Edwards first started training Piper when he was about 5 years old.

Instagram: @airportk9 / Via

Edwards, who studied air traffic control in college, heard about a K-9 wildlife management program at Fort Meyers airport in Florida that employed a border collie to chase off wildlife.

"It was just a two-plus-two thing," he told BuzzFeed News. "I work at an airport. I have a border collie. Let's give it a shot."


Over a year, Edwards worked with Piper on his recall skills and off-leash control, which he quickly learned. Edwards also trained Piper to become accustomed to the sounds of aircrafts.

Instagram: @airportk9 / Via

"To this day I can still teach him new things," said Edwards. "I definitely don't have the 'can't teach an old dog new tricks' problem with Piper."

Edwards said he's working with Piper on becoming accustomed to helicopters. He said he wants Piper to be prepared for any situation in case of an emergency.

Airport director Kevin Klein told BuzzFeed News that while the K-9 program is still in its infancy, he has noticed a reduction in wildlife around the area.

Instagram: @airportk9 / Via

The airport also uses more traditional techniques to manage wildlife, like removing food and water sources. It also has reflectors and noisemakers to scare away any birds or other animals.

"You can do all that for many years but then the wildlife becomes accustomed to it," he said. "By adding Piper in, it's another tool in the toolbox to manage that wildlife habitat without doing any lethal taking of an animal."


Edwards said he "loves every minute" of his work with Piper because it doesn't feel like a job.

Instagram: @airportk9 / Via

Edwards and Piper's wildlife K-9 team is completely voluntary. They are funded by donations through their website.

Edwards said "though it ends up costing me money, nothing can make up for working with your best friend everyday."

Cherry Capital Airport K-9 Team / Via Facebook: airportk9