Beloved Traverse City airport K-9 Piper dies
Piper, the beloved border collie who protected planes at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, has died.
The K-9 won hearts around the world when photos of him working at the airport went viral online.
His last day was pain-free and filled with love, his owner Brian Edwards said in a post on the airport's Facebook page. Edwards is also the airport operations supervisor.
"He played soccer, got some much deserved butt scratches and yes, he chased away one last snowy owl as he sailed into the night," he said.
Piper had been chasing birds, including geese, ducks and owls, off the airport's runway since January 2015. But his health began to deteriorate a year ago when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The community honored Piper on his Instagram, Facebook and YouTube pages. And the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station at the airport gave the working dog a "final act of true class" when the American flag "was taken down, folded and presented to us and a token of their love," Edwards wrote on Facebook.
"As I hope was plainly evident, we are grateful," he said. "Grateful to have done what we loved for three years and had a whole hell of a lot of fun doing it."