Pets

Michigan airport K-9 Piper, beloved internet sensation, dies after battle with cancer

Screenshot of airport K-9 Piper’s webpage.
Screenshot of airport K-9 Piper’s webpage. www.airportk9.org

About two years after news outlets and much of the media deemed him “the world’s coolest dog,” Piper, a border collie who worked to keep a Michigan airport’s runways free from wildlife, has died after a battle with prostate cancer, his handler announced Wednesday evening on Facebook.

The K-9 served for three years at Cherry Capital Airport, where he chased away wildlife, helping prevent animal interference with takeoffs and landings.

Piper was euthanized Wednesday after a yearlong battle with prostate cancer, handler Brian Edwards said.

“Today, Piper enjoyed a pain-free day, filled with love from family and friends, mostly his fellow airport employees. He played soccer, got some much deserved butt scratches and yes, he chased away one last snowy owl as he sailed into the night,” Edwards posted to Facebook.

Piper officially started his role in January 2015, according to the Traverse City Record Eagle. The local U.S. Coast Guard station presented Edwards with an American flag in the dog’s honor.

Images of Piper made the rounds on social media in early 2016, and his story was quickly reported upon. According to Travel + Leisure, airports are required to have a plan to keep wildlife away from aircraft. Piper was, as of February 2016, the only wildlife control K-9 at Cherry Capital, and one of a handful in the U.S.

Videos showing an ultra-cool Piper donning blue polarized goggles, a black vest and a stoic pose while aircraft take off and land behind him quickly made the collie a hit online.

Piper had his own website, social media pages and a YouTube account documenting some of his work.

As of Thursday morning, the website – www.airportk9.org – had not been updated to reflect Piper’s passing.

The site did, however, chronicle a few of the stats Piper racked up in his career: 8,367 birds chased, 1,907 miles patrolled and 6,206 hours worked.

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