Brian Edwards, airport operations manager at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan, first began bringing his border collie Piper to work in late 2014. A little over a year later, Piper, whose job was to clear the airfield of birds, foxes, and groundhogs, became an internet sensation. Photos of Piper hard at work while looking like a total badass with his goggles flooded the internet and were seen and loved all over the world. Piper’s Instagram, @airportk9 amassed over 100,000 followers.
In January 2016, Piper was diagnosed with cancer, but the famous dog kept working like nothing was wrong. In fact, he didn’t even show symptoms until late into the year and still managed to work a 40-hours-per-week schedule. But the illness eventually took its toll and in January of this year, Piper passed away in Edwards’ arms — after working his final shift, of course.
Over the course of his three-year career at the airport, Piper chased 8,367 birds while patrolling 1,907 miles and working 6,206 hours.
Learn all about Piper and see just how loved he was by his community in the touching tribute video below from YouTube’s Flight Chops: