Meet the Dog Protecting Planes From Bird Strikes

Meet the Dog Protecting Planes From Bird Strikes

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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)

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