Piper went viral a couple of years ago when Reddit users caught sight of the Border Collie wearing goggles and ear muffs, standing at attention on a Michigan airport runway.
Since then, the canine amassed large Twitter and Instagram followings, his accounts dedicated to detailing his aviation exploits.
Sadly, Piper has crossed the rainbow bridge, passing away after a battle with prostate cancer.
The dog, who was employed as a K-9 wildlife control expert at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan, had to be trained to do his job–like any human.
In a past Reddit AMA, the airport’s operations manager, Brian Edwards said:
“It’s not natural for dogs to be around aircraft, so we had to gradually work up to the different sounds. Each aircraft has a different sound. Every day we’d go out and do some socializing, consistent. This also built trust that I’m not going to put him into a bad situation.”
It took Piper about a year and a half to get acclimated to the job — but he was good at it, and dedicated, working “four 10-hour shifts per week on a rotating basis,” according to information on the website airportk9.org.
The website broke it down even further, saying it all amounted to “8,367 birds chased, 1,907 miles patrolled, and 6,202 hours worked.”